Smartphone sales boost profits for TeliaSonera

Smartphone sales boost profits for TeliaSonera
Nordic telecoms giant TeliaSonera said on Monday that sales of smartphones, coupled with growth in eastern Europe and Asia, boosted third-quarter profits and its outlook for fiscal-year results.

“Both Mobility Services and Eurasia are seeing accelerated growth compared to previous quarters,” CEO Lars Nyberg said in the earnings report.

He said that mobile services were being driven by mobile data and equipment sales and activity in Europe and Asia by “macroeconomic recovery and higher mobile penetration.”

The Swedish-Finnish company posted a 19 percent rise in net profit to 5.99 billion kronor ($914 million) on sales which slipped 1 percent to 26.75 billion kronor.

Meanwhile, the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation, or EBITDA, soared to the highest level ever, Nyberg said.

TeliaSonera’s smartphones helped boost its profits, with soaring sales and surging data traffic in its Nordic home market.

“In the Nordic region, the uptake of smart phones is boosting our mobile data revenues and equipment sales. Today, seven out of ten customers in Sweden are buying a smartphone with higher usage and average revenue per user as a result,” Nyberg said.

“The new iPhone 4 has been very well received by our customers and we can now see that other smart phone models based on [Google’s] Android and [Nokia’s] Symbian platforms are also getting a lot of traction,” he added.

Despite the strong figures, the company’s results slightly missed the expectations of analysts, who according to a poll by Dow Jones Newswires had anticipated a net profit of 6.16 billion kronor on sales of 26.83 billion.

However, TeliaSonera increased its 2010 forecast, saying it now expected full-year sales to be in line with the first nine months of the year, while its EBITDA margin should be higher than in 2009.

Following the news, the company saw its share price jump 2.71 percent in late morning trading on a slightly positive Stockholm stock exchange.

The company said its customer numbers climb during the third quarter alone by 4.2 million, of whom two million are new clients of TeliaSonera’s consolidated operations and 2.2 million have signed on with associated companies, to a total of 156.6 million customers.

Over the past year, it said it had seen its total client lists swell by 12.8 million.

Like its main Nordic rivals, Norway’s Telenor and Sweden’s Tele2, TeliaSonera’s strategy is to expand towards the East, increasing its presence in the Baltic countries, Russia and Turkey, as well as former Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Georgia.

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