May 5, 2015 / 2:46 PM / 5 years ago

Nokia could decide to keep navigation unit - chairman

Nokia's chairman Risto Siilasmaa during the press conference held in Nokia head offices in Espoo, Finland 17th April 2015. REUTERS/Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Telecom network equipment maker Nokia could decide not to sell its navigation business HERE when it has completed a review of the unit, its chairman said.

The Finnish company last month confirmed it was considering a possible divestment of the business after announcing an all-share take-over of network gear rival Alcatel-Lucent.

HERE, seen valued at up to 6.9 billion euros (£5 billion), has reportedly drawn interest from automakers and car-parts suppliers as well as Internet services like Facebook and online taxi service Uber.

Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa, however, on Tuesday said there was no predetermined outcome of the review, adding that the firm was not a forced seller.

“This is the right time for the review, not only because of the Alcatel-Lucent deal but also because navigation markets have changed in the last years,” he said in a speech at the company’s annual general meeting.

“I’d like to stress that the review will not necessarily lead to selling of HERE. We strongly believe in the possibilities to develop HERE also as part of Nokia. Above all, this is a question of finding the best possibilities for HERE to create value.”

The book value of the unit is about 2 billion euros, but Inderes Equity Research has valued it at 4.4 billion to 6.9 billion euros, based on a sum-of-parts calculation.

Nokia last week reported quarterly profits at its networks business well below market forecasts, sending its stock tumbling and raising concerns over the Alcatel-Lucent deal.

HERE’s sales in the first quarter rose 25 percent from a year ago to 261 million euros, and Nokia updated the full-year profitability outlook of the unit to an operating margin range of 9-12 percent from earlier 7-12 percent.

Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Keith Weir

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