In this game of big players, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is completely ignored by investors. Nokia was once the biggest player in the industry, but now it is a charmless phone-maker. But there are few hidden aspects that can be banked on, if investors identify them and make a timely move.
Investors' big base mistakes
I am not an advocate for the value investment, nor do I ignore the risk associated with value investments, but there are a few things I can't ignore. The large price base of Apple (AAPL) is one of the things I don't like. I am not criticizing if AAPL is worth it or not, but the fact is how much an investor can earn. Investors make bets on the stock to make money (unless someone is taking a majority stake). In last week, AAPL gained around 619 points, by moving from 18th March 455.72 to 22nd March level of 461.9, and that booked a profit of only 1%. On the other hand, Nokia moved from 3.35 to 3.45 over the period 18th to 21st and booked a profit of 3%.
I know this also applies the other way around, but currently the stock is trading at $3.33, and with recent production moves, there is no further downside to this stock for patient investors.
The Recent Rumor
One cannot escape the rumors in technology plays. There is a buzz about Apple iPhone 5s or iPhone 6 rumors, touting this or that feature, or guesstimating a rollout date. Nokia has joined the league and initiated a major buzz with a recent Facebook post showing its Lumia phone with an intriguing little gadget on the back - giving a view as if it was outfitted with solar charging capabilities. And Nokia's post accompanying the picture added to the intrigue. This isn't the first time Nokia has been linked to a solar-power-charging feature for its smartphones, and if this rumor materializes, Nokia will make a forceful comeback in the industry.
Banking on Emerging Market Demand
Nokia's doomsday began when it refused to adapt to the changes of the tech industry. It was further fueled when NOK stopped polishing its strength of high end phones and focused on cheap mobile phone as a last resort. Well, this is the same mistake AAPL is making. The news of AAPL making cheap smartphones targeting a large number of customers at the low-end segment is going to affect AAPL the same way. Once again, history will repeat itself. Nokia has entered the emerging market. It is making policies to test how to target the major lot of consumers.
A newspaper from India provided the details on how NOK is leasing phones on weekly installments. It has already captured a larger segment of the market in India and has become the most used phone in the Indian market. The emerging markets have humungous demand for low end smartphones due to the rising population and low per-capita consumable income. Nokia is reaping benefits from these facts by providing leasing facilities and repair centers that provide maintenance services mostly without cost. The moment AAPL will enter emerging markets, it will face a huge hit from NOK, the news will spread and investors will go bullish on AAPL. In all this, NOK will be over the top!
A sneak peek at the numbers
It is worth noting that Nokia, once the largest manufacturer, has lost 4.4% of the world's mobile phone market share in a single year, and slipped to the second position in the first quarter of 2012 (Gartner). Samsung now leads the market with a 20.7% share in 1Q2012, compared to Nokia's share of 19.8%. But the low end smartphones will bring some of the lost market share back to the company and help it improve its financials a bit.
Nokia is currently trading at a book value 0.33. Cheap valuations have left Nokia vulnerable to buyout rumors in the past - by Microsoft (MSFT) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF). But the giants cannot reap much synergy from NOK acquisition. Another reason for Nokia's attractiveness is the wealth of the patents it owns and earns nearly $0.65 billion in royalties from these patents. I will rest my case with a little note from latest Nokia's 20 - F form:
During the last two decades, we have invested approximately EUR 50 billion ($65 billion) in research and development and built one of the wireless industry's strongest and broadest IPR portfolios, with approximately 10,000 patent families. We are a world leader in the development of handheld device and mobile communications technologies, which is also demonstrated by our strong patent position. Within Devices & Services Other, we estimate that our current annual IPR income run-rate is approximately EUR 0.5 billion ($.65 billion).
At the prevailing market price, Nokia is a great buy. The low price base of Nokia, its emerging market policies and the unsustainable growth of AAPL have, together, rendered NOK an opportunity for the investors. If the investors are too risk averse and cannot keep a close eye on the market, I can advise them to protect the downside via a put or stop loss. But I would like to tell the investors who are aiming to invest over a long run that Nokia is here to stay and is worth the bet.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.