Siemens CFO: Nokia Siemens could IPO in medium term

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Siemens are eyeing an initial public offering for Nokia Siemens Networks in the medium term, a top Siemens executive said. However, Siemens CFO Joe Kaeser stressed that an IPO is not a short-term priority.

"If everything continues to develop well, an IPO of NSN is possible in the medium term," Kaeser said, according to Reuters.

The financial fate of Nokia Siemens Networks has centered on whether the two parent companies in the 50-50 joint venture will sell a stake to a private equity firm. Kaeser said earlier this month that the company had started winnowing the field of potential partners. However, Reuters reported last week, citing three unnamed sources, that the talks Nokia Siemens started in August with four or five private equity firms were still at an "exploratory" stage. Additionally, the report said, Nokia and Siemens differ on what the price of a stake should be.

Executives from both Nokia and Siemens said they are committed to turning around NSN before considering their options when the JV ends in 2013. Nokia Siemens has weighed down the balance sheets of both parent companies; the joint venture reported a $386 million operating loss in the third quarter. Sales were up 7 percent though, and Nokia said it expects NSN's operating margin to be between 2 and 5 percent in the fourth quarter.

In other networking news, research firm the Dell'Oro Group said the mobile equipment market contracted 5 percent in the third quarter, which was less than previous contractions earlier in the year. The demand for LTE and 3G equipment did not outweigh a drop in 2G sales, Dell'Oro said.

According to the research firm, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) maintained its leadership position with 33.7 percent market share, but NSN lost the No. 2 spot to Huawei. Huawei captured 20.6 percent of the market, Nokia Siemens slipped to 19.8 percent and Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU) rose to 16.2 percent market share.  

For more:
- see this Reuters article on Siemens
- see this Reuters article on Dell'Oro

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