Despite reporting a hefty slide in third quarter profits, Nokia, the world’s biggest handset vendor, avoided spooking the market with any mention of the effects of the prevailing economic crisis.

Net profit for the quarter slipped to Eur1.09bn from Eur1.56bn in the same period last year, while net sales fell 5 per cent to Eur12.2bn.

The Finnish giant shifted 117.8 million handsets, an increase of 5 per cent, contributing to industry mobile device volumes of 310 million units, up 8 per cent year on year.

But Nokia’s mobile device ASP (average selling price) dropped Eur2 from the previous quarter to Eur72. All told, the Devices & Services division recorded net sales of Eur8.6bn, down 7 per cent year on year.

As far as Nokia’s concerned, its mobile device market share dropped to 38 per cent, down from 39 per cent last year and 40 per cent in the previous quarter.

Nevertheless, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel as Nokia said it expects industry mobile device volumes will be approximately 1.26 billion in 2008, up from an estimated 1.14 billion units in 2007.

The networks operation, Nokia Siemens Networks, also continued to struggle along, reporting net sales of Eur3.5bn, down 5 per cent year on year. Operating loss however climbed to Eur1m, compared with a reported operating loss of Eur120m in the third quarter of 2007. NSN is aiming for annual cost synergies of Eur2bn by the end of 2008.

Commenting on the results, Nomura analyst Richard Windsor, said that the seas are very rough but the ship remains watertight. “Nokia missed Q3 revenues but has done a good job in keeping profitability and cash flow at very high levels. Q4 is likely to be softer than usual but this still means a good pick up in revenues. Margins should also improve in both handsets and infrastructure,” Windsor said.