Nokia Faces Securities-Fraud Lawsuit

Mobile phone maker Nokia (NOK), facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States, vows to “vigorously” defend itself against claims that it hid information about price cuts and production delays.

A group of investors is suing the Finland-based giant, accusing it of securities fraud between Jan. 24, 2008 and Sept. 5, 2008. The filing says Nokia did not tell shareholders that it had slashed average retail prices to keep market share.

In a prepared statement, Nokia said it will fight the allegations.

“Nokia has reviewed the allegations contained in the complaint and believes that they are without merit,” the company said in a prepared statement on Feb. 8. “Nokia intends to defend itself against the complaint vigorously.”

The law firm of Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins filed the suit in New York on behalf of people who bought Nokia’s American Depository Shares.

“In early 2008, defendants became aware that Nokia was likely to experience production-related delays associated with its mid-price range cellular phones, including certain of its smart phones,” the suit reads, according to a copy obtained by MarketWatch.

“Defendants hid this fact from investors and instead highlighted the company’s expected launch of several new phones,” the law firm added.

Nokia President and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo is listed as a defendant, as are Richard Simonson, former CFO and now executive vice president of mobile phones and devices, and Kai Oistamo, executive vice president of devices.

More Nokia Layoffs

Meantime, Nokia said in a separate announcement it’s cutting as many as 285 jobs in Salo, Finland, as it works to catch up to rivals in the smartphone market.

Nokia plans to focus “fully” on the “high-value smartphone market, especially in Europe,” it said in a brief statement. That will translate into the introduction of “new and highly specialized manufacturing methods,” which means changing up “personnel at the facility.”

Nokia employs approximately 2,200 people at the Salo plant. It said it will find new positions for as many employees as possible; it also expects to offer voluntary severance packages.

“Salo is a crucial part of Nokia’s global manufacturing network,” said Juha Putkiranta, Nokia’s senior vice president of markets, in a press release. “Plans involving changes to employees are always painful, and they are set in motion only after thorough consideration. However, with these plans our aim is to ensure the plant’s future competitiveness and its special role as one best suited to the production of high-value mobile devices.”

Nokia has laid off more than 2,000 employees over the past year; most recently it fired 450 R&D workers in Finland and Denmark.

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