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Nokia Swings to Profit, But There's No Dividend

Tickers in this article: MSFT NOK

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Nokia's(NOK) back in the black again.

According to the company's fourth-quarter numbers, released early Thursday, sales of Lumia smartphones helped the company turn a profit of 202 million euros (nearly $270 million). That's a lot better than last year's fourth-quarter loss of 1 billion euros.

While those numbers are encouraging, investors won't be overjoyed by the announcement that, despite the profit, Nokia won't pay a dividend for 2012 (the company's 2011 dividend was 0.2 euro a share). Instead, the board decided to keep the money to improve the company's "liquidity position."

Nokia's shares were down 6.5% to $4.34 in morning trading.

Nokia's latest numbers were also helped by Microsoft's(MSFT) $250 million aid package to the Finnish phone maker. This "platform support payment" was started to help Nokia make the transition from its old software to Microsoft's Windows Phone OS. Now that the company has started to turn a profit, Nokia will have to pay royalties to use the new software.

The turnaround is due, in large part, to Nokia's line of Lumia phones (Windows Phone OS 7.5 and 8.0). Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumias during the quarter.

The company also sold 2.2 million phones which run on its now-retired Symbian operating system. TheStreet tested the top-of-the-line 808 PureView smartphone (the one with the 41-megapixel camera on the back) and liked it a lot as a digital camera - but not so much as a modern-day smartphone. Nokia said today that the 808 is the last Nokia Symbian device ever.

When Nokia ended the Symbian era, former engineers and developers formed a new company, Jolla, which is busy working on an upgraded software platform and new handset designs.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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