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NSN gets cash infusion from parents as Nokia continues to slash jobs


Nokia Siemens Networks is getting a new chairman and a Euro 1 billion cash infusion as its parent companies try to set the listing infrastructure maker on a more steady and independent course. Meanwhile, Nokia announced another round of job cuts, eliminating another 3500 jobs by the end of 2012 in addition to the 7000 positions it announced it would cut in April.

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The former chief financial officer of Danish telco TDC, Jesper Ovesen will take over the NSN chairmanís role for Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo starting today. Ovesen, however, will take a more active role than Kallasvuo as head of the board, assuming the title of executive chairman. In a statement, Nokia and Siemens said Kallasvuo, who served as non-executive chairman, elected to step down since it would have been impossible for him to assume a full-time role.

Ovesenís new position and the Euro 500 million investment from each parent are intended to make NSN an more independent company, and according to an NSN spokesman who spoke to the Dow Jones Newswires, that independence could mean a public listing. Spokesman James Etheridge said that Ovesenís mandate is to strengthen the telecom vendor financially, making an initial public offering a viable offering. The choice of Ovesen is then probably no coincidence as he oversaw the financial aspects of TDCís restructuring and own IPO.

The cash injection will help with NSNís long-standing financial troubles (CP: NSN abandons its quest for cash) as the company struggles to compete in a global telecom equipment market dominated by Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and increasingly Huawei. NSN has had particular trouble making its mark in the U.S., watching key long-term evolution deals wind up its arch-rivalsí books. It recently purchased Motorolaís non-iDEN commercial network assets in an attempt to gain more customers in North America as well as strengthen its position in Asia (CP: NSN-Motorola integration begins).

Parent company Nokia has been under turmoil as well, ever since it announced a radical change in strategy, electing to abandon its Symbian operating system for Microsoftís new Windows Phone 7 platform. Since then, Nokia has been in a constant state of reorganization and job cutting as it scales back its huge in-house smartphone software development and R&D units to prepare for its new role as a key Microsoft partner (Unfiltered: Nokia, Microsoft trade off services, features in final WP7 pact).

The job cuts announced today pertain primarily to Nokiaís supply chain management and manufacturing operations as well as its Location & Commerce business unit. Nokia is closing at least one factory in Europe in order to focus its feature phone activity in Asia where the primary growth markets for feature phones are today. Conversely the explosion of smartphones in North America in Europe will lead to a restructuring of its supply chain operation in those regions. Rather than concentrate manufacturing in plants in Finland, Hungary and Mexico, it will gradually shift their functions to device customization and regional packaging.

In the Location & Commerce Group, which includes its Navteq acquisition, Nokia plans to shut down offices in Bonn, Germany, and Malvern, Penn.; focusing the groupís operations in Chicago, Boston and Berlin. The reorganization of the location services group will account for 1300 job cuts, while the consolidation of its manufacturing and changes to the supply chain will account for the remaining 2200 cuts.


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