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Nokia is set to increase its share of the global phones market, according to Jorma Ollila, its outgoing chief executive.

The Finnish market leader on Thursday released quarterly results that showed it had beaten expectations by a wide margin, with net profits up 21 per cent.

The company said it had increased first-quarter shipments by 40 per cent year-on-year to 75.1m handsets, corresponding to a market share of 35 per cent – a rise of 3 percentage points.

Mr Ollila, who delivered his last quarterly results as chief executive, said the company’s market share target of 40 per cent was within reach. “It is still possible to increase market share,” Mr Ollila said. “The share of the five biggest [manufacturers] has increased all the time. This is a very significant trend.

“Volumes have grown and the products have become increasingly complex, which strengthens the position of the market leader.”

Strategy Analytics, a US-based consultancy, said yesterday that global mobile shipments totalled 229m in the first three months of the year – the first time they had exceeded 200m in the first quarter of a year.

Neil Mawston, an analyst at the consultancy, said the leading suppliers had increased their combined market share consistently as the emphasis of subscriber growth had moved to emerging markets.

He said the five biggest manufacturers – Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, LG and SonyEricsson – controlled 78 per cent of the market in the first quarter, compared with 68 per cent two years ago.

“In some parts of India, Nokia is virtually the only distributor,” Mr Mawston said. “The smaller players simply don’t have the resources to push out their products to the more remote areas.”

Soaring sales in emerging markets helped lift Nokia’s first-quarter net sales by 29 per cent year-on-year to €9.5bn ($11.7bn), compared with expectations of about €9bn. Net profits rose 21 per cent to €1.05bn, well ahead of forecasts of about €940m.

Nokia’s shares jumped 5.6 per cent to €18.40 in Helsinki.

Earlier this month, Nokia said the average price of its mobiles had risen to €103 in the first quarter after falling to €99 in the final quarter of last year.

Operating margins were 14.4 per cent of sales, higher than the 13.2 per cent of last year’s fourth quarter but down from the 15.1 per cent in the same quarter of a year earlier.

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