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HELSINKI: Finnish telecoms giant Nokia performed better than expected last year and foresees further growth in 2022 as a supply chain crunch and inflation are set to ease, the network equipment maker said Tuesday.

The announcement follows a string of quarterly earnings surprises for the network equipment maker, which last October managed to boost its third quarter profits despite a worldwide shortage of computer chips.

The group largely met expectations with 22.2 billion euros ($25.2 billion) in net sales last year.

But it raised its 2021 operating margin guidance to between 12.4 percent and 12.6 percent, up from 10 percent to 12 percent.

The boost was related to venture fund investments, a one-off software contract in the second quarter, "bad debt provision reversals and some other one-time benefits," the company said in a statement.

Nokia now expects an operating margin ranging between 11 percent and 13.5 percent in 2022, citing "estimated continued improvements in the underlying business, supply constraints and cost inflation."

Nokia chief executive Pekka Lundmark said last year that the company expects to see a gradual improvement in 2022, though it was not "100 percent" guaranteed.

Lundmark has been credited with turning around the fortunes of the network giant, which has been flagging in the race with Sweden's Ericsson and China's Huawei in the 5G network equipment market.

After taking the helm in mid-2020, Lundmark implemented widespread job cuts, with savings funnelled into developing more competitive technology.

The group has also partly benefitted from the misfortunes of rival Ericsson, whose China market share collapsed when Beijing retaliated against Sweden for banning Huawei from its 5G network rollout.

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