Nokia Boosts Stock-Option Program to Retain ’Key’ Workers

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), the mobile-phone maker struggling to stem losses amid plunging sales, boosted its stock-option program in a bid to retain employees critical to its turnaround effort.

Nokia, which reported its fifth straight quarterly loss on July 19, will grant additional options to “key senior level employees,” though not for Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop or his team of top executives, according to a statement from the Espoo, Finland-based company today. The move increases the number of options Nokia plans to issue under its 2012 program to 11.5 million from 8.5 million.

The company, whose debt is ranked junk at the three largest rating companies, has announced more than 20,000 job cuts and shuttered production and research sites as it tries to offset declining revenue. Elop is betting on the Lumia smartphone running Microsoft Corp. software to halt gains by Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and handsets using Google Inc.’s Android software.

Nokia reported a second-quarter operating loss at its handset division, excluding some items, equivalent to 9.1 percent of revenue and forecast similar losses for the current period. Its shares have lost more than half of their value this year, leaving them near the lowest level since the mid-1990s.

The stock added 3.2 percent to 1.80 euros at 1:59 p.m. Helsinki time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Ewing in Stockholm at aewing5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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