updated 10/20/2005 8:19:55 AM ET 2005-10-20T12:19:55

Nokia Corp., the world’s top cell-phone maker, on Thursday posted a 29 percent growth in third-quarter earnings as the overall market for mobile devices expanded.

Net profit for the three months ending Sept. 30 rose to 881 million euros ($1.05 billion), up from 685 million euros in the same period last year. Sales were 8.4 billion euros ($10.04 billion), up 18 percent from 7.1 billion euros in the year-ago period. Net profit was higher than analysts expected, but sales were slightly lower than expected.

Nokia’s shares dropped 2.4 percent to 13.68 euros on the Helsinki exchange shortly after the report.

“Profitability was driven by an excellent performance from our device businesses,” Nokia Chairman and CEO Jorma Ollila said. “This was backed by growing strength in our product portfolio and our ability to manage costs and execute well.”

Nokia had raise its third-quarter revenue forecast last month, citing better-than-expected sales of mobile devices and steady prices.

The Finnish company said it sold a record 66.6 million units in the quarter as its market share grew to 33 percent, one percentage point higher than in the same period last year. The growth in the entire mobile-phone industry exceeded Nokia’s expectations, and the company raised its full-year estimate for the entire market, now expecting 780 million units to be sold this year.

Nokia’s report follows upbeat results from its competitors in the handset market.

The company’s closest rival, Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola Inc., said Wednesday its third-quarter earnings more than tripled on record sales.

Last week, the world’s No. 3 handset maker, Samsung Electronics Co., said it sold a record 26.8 million mobile phones during the quarter.

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