HELSINKI, July 30 (Reuters) - Nokia, the world's No. 3 network equipment maker, on Thursday reported a surprise rise in second-quarter profits, helped by high-margin software sales and fewer low-priced contracts at its mainstay telecom network equipment business.
Finland's Nokia, which in April proposed a 15.6 billion euro take-over of its French rival Alcatel-Lucent, said operating profit at its network unit was 313 million euros ($343 million) in the second quarter, or 11.5 percent of sales.
That was up from 281 million euros a year earlier, and well above analysts' average forecast of a profit of 235 million euros and a margin of 8.3 percent, according to a Reuters poll.
Network equipment sales were 2.73 billion euros, below a market consensus of 2.84 billion euros.
Total non-IFRS group profit increased 51 percent from a year ago to 521 million euros, compared with the 334 million euros profit forecast by analysts in the Reuters poll.
The company also said its strategic review of its HERE navigation business was now in an advanced stage. Last week, Reuters reported that the company was closing in on a deal to sell the maps operation to German car makers for between 2.5 billion and 3 billion euros. ($1 = 0.9114 euros) (Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing By Eric Auchard)