TeliaSonera announces job cuts in Sweden

Swedish-Finnish telecommunications operator TeliaSonera gave notice to 1,200 employees in Sweden on Monday as part of the firm's ongoing "efficiency measures".

TeliaSonera announces job cuts in Sweden

Early last year, the company announced that it would slash 2,900 jobs in total, with the measures expected to result in gross savings of 5 billion kronor ($620 million) “compared to the cost base of 2007”.

TeliaSonera said the move was necessary if the company was to avoid having “higher structural costs than competitors and to be able to continue shifting the product mix to mobility- and IP-based services.”

By the end of the third quarter in 2008, around 1,300 employees in Sweden and Finland had been laid off as part of the company’s efficiency package, according to spokeswoman Cecilia Edström.

Monday’s announcement would primarily affect employees working with the company’s broadband operations, she added.

Edström could not say which parts of the country would be most affected.

“No, I can’t say, but the notice affects all of Sweden,” she said.

Edström was also reluctant to say whether white-collar or blue-collar workers would be hardest hit by the cutbacks.


‘Rotten’ business claims at Nordic TeliaSonera

Swedish-Finnish telecom operator TeliaSonera has been accused of “rotten” business dealings in Azerbaijan, following a separate bribery scandal in Uzbekistan.

'Rotten’ business claims at Nordic TeliaSonera
A TeliaSonera conference in Stockholm last year. Photo: TT

Folksam, which is one of the largest insurance companies in Sweden, has accused the firm of “systematic cheating”, after it emerged that TeliaSonera’s subsidiary in Azerbaijan had ties with the family of Ilham Aliyev, the Arab nation’s leader.

It has been claimed that the dictator’s daughters were shareholders of TeliaSonera's subsidiary Azertel, via a connected company based in Panama.

“It is distressing that in a large Swedish company…people thought that cheating would pay off in the long run,” Carina Lundberg Markow, one of Folksam’s managers told the TT news agency on Wednesday.

She criticized TeliaSonera for failing to act “in an honest and open way” when entering new markets.

“Instead, they choose to pay for success,” she added.

TeliaSonera is one of the biggest telecom operators in the Nordic and Baltic countries and also operates in several emerging markets in Eurasia including Russia and Turkey, as well as Spain. The Swedish state owns 37.3 percent of the company.

Swedish prosecutor Gunnar Stetler is already investigating claims of unethical business practices in Uzbekistan and told TT he had also been given new information concerning potential bribery in Azerbaijan.

The company has voluntarily cooperated with the investigation, handing over what Stetler describes as “extensive information” about “the terms and conditions in Eurasian countries”.

Stetler said he was unable to discuss how he had responded to the information. But calls are growing for TeliaSonera to release a public report about its business dealings.

“Now it is extremely important to create transparency,” said Lundberg Markow.

“This shows the importance of having a set of values when doing business in complex markets or countries,” she added.

TeliaSonera and Norwegian rival Telenor recently merged their operations in Denmark, while the telecoms giant last year purchased rival Tele2's Norwegian division for 5.1 kronor.