HELSINKI, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Nokia reported larger than expected quarterly profits on Thursday, helped by a patent licensing deal, but warned that its mainstay network equipment market looked more challenging and that it was set to decline also in 2018.
Third-quarter group earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose 20 percent from a year ago to 668 million euros ($790 million), clearly above analysts' average forecast of 541 million euros in a Reuters poll.
The profit was boosted by a one-off payment of 180 million euros from a settled patent arbitration. Operating profit from the networks business fell 23 percent year-on-year.
Nokia said it expected networks market conditions for this year to be slightly more challenging than earlier anticipated. It estimated a 4 to 5 percent market decline for 2017 and a 2 to 5 percent year-on-year fall for 2018. ($1 = 0.8457 euros) (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl, Tuomas Forsell, Stine Jacobsen and Teis Jensen)