After three quarters, the year 2023 was marked by a 5% drop in sales and a 21% fall in operating profit. Another setback was the build-up of inventories, which increased working capital requirements and led to negative cash generation this year.

Far from pulling out all the stops on 5G and network modernization, operators have clearly decided to postpone infrastructure investments in favor of deleveraging - a choice made imperative by rising interest rates.

However, their own inventories are reaching critical levels, which should lead to an upturn in orders in the very near future. Nokia's working capital situation should therefore normalize in the fourth quarter. In this respect, despite the delicate economic situation, the Finnish company anticipates a year more or less similar to previous years.

As we mentioned a few months ago, Nokia's growth has stalled since its takeover of Alcatel. Against its better judgment, its restructuring program has produced real gains: operating profit has doubled in recent years, while the number of shares in circulation has begun to fall as a result of share buybacks.

The Group might do well to accelerate its share buybacks. The monetization of its patent portfolio alone - the jewel in the crown, with an operating margin of 70% - brings in between EUR800 and EUR900 million a year.

At a multiple of ten times profits, this segment alone represents between a third and a quarter of consolidated operating profit, and more than half of enterprise value. For a group that has been operating in a duopoly with Ericsson in the West since Huawei's ouster, such a valuation is bound to attract attention.