HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's Nokia reported better-than-expected profits for its mainstay telecom network equipment business but warned that rollouts for new mobile networks would start to slow this year in its key market in China.
Nokia's network gear business, which accounts for more than 90 percent of its stand-alone sales, reported fourth-quarter operating profit margin of 14.6 percent, compared to 14.0 percent a year earlier and 13.8 percent in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Catch-up patent payments from Samsung helped Nokia's total operating profit in the quarter grow 46 percent from a year ago to 734 million euros ($829 million), roughly in line with market consensus.
Nokia proposed annual dividend of 0.16 euros per share and a special dividend of 0.10 euros per share, compared with analysts' average expectation of 0.19 euros.
(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl, additional reporting by Tuomas Forsell, Mia Shanley and Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Eric Auchard and Biju Dwarakanath)