Given the challenging macro likely to persist through 2018, Canaccord analyst Michael Walkley remains neutral on Nokia (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) shares, reiterating a Hold rating and a $6.00 price target. In addition, the analyst slightly lowered his non-IFRS 2017 and 2018 EPS estimates from $0.24 and $0.36 to $0.23 and $0.33, respectively, given his lower Technologies Division estimates.
Walkley explained, “While we believe Nokia will eventually reach a licensing agreement with Apple, we believe the litigation and negotiation process could last well into 2018. Our 2017 and 2018 Technologies Division revenue forecasts exclude any licensing payments from Apple versus the roughly €150M in 2016 revenue. We are also removing any new licensing deals in 2018 until potential new deals are announced, leading to our slightly lower Technologies estimates. Should Apple and Nokia reach a deal or new OEM licensing deals occur, then our 2017 and/or 2018 estimates could prove conservative.”
To the company’s credit, the analyst believes that Nokia management has executed on its cost reduction targets and is well positioned to execute on its 8%-10% operating margin guidance.
“We believe Nokia management has a strong track record of operational excellence and will continue its strong execution on cost-cutting initiatives. Further, we believe the technology licensing business can also create a source of high-margin growth longer term despite our belief the Apple licensing renegotiation could take more than a year to resolve,” Walkley noted.
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, 5-star analyst Michael Walkley has a yearly average return of 20.4% and a 67% success rate. Walkley has a -6.5% average return when recommending NOK, and is ranked #24 out of 4561 analysts.
Out of the 18 analysts polled by TipRanks (in the past 12 months), 10 rate Nokia stock a Buy, 7 rate the stock a Hold and 1 recommends to Sell. With a return potential of 1.5%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $6.10.