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TeliaSonera lowers forecast as profits dip

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TeliaSonera lowers forecast as profits dip
TeliaSonera CEO Lars Nyberg in a 2009 file photo
10:20 CEST+02:00
Nordic telecoms giant TeliaSonera on Tuesday posted a small drop in its first quarter net profit and sales and revised down its full-year sales expectations due to slower growth and currency fluctuations.

For the January-March period, the company born out of the 2002 merger between Swedish Telia and Finnish Sonera posted a net profit down 2.0 percent at 4.6 billion kronor ($732 million dollars).

TeliaSonera also announced its sales for the quarter were down 5.6 percent at 24.7 billion kronor, but pointed out that excluding the effect of acquisitions its sales were actually up 2.5 percent.

The company slightly missed the expectations of analysts polled by the DowJones Newswires, who had anticipated a net profit for the quarter of 4.8 billion kronor on sales of 25.7 billion kronor.

"Some of the Nordic mobile markets showed lower growth compared to previous quarters as a result of regulatory effects, fewer handset sales and somewhat lower service revenues," company chief executive Lars Nyberg explained in the earnings statement.

He added that while growth remained strong in the Eurasia market, and its subsidiary Yoigo was gaining market share in Spain, growth in that country had slowed due to its hard-hit economy, while "in the Baltic countries, we are still awaiting a recovery."

Like its largest Nordic competitors, Norwegian Telenor and Swedish Tele2, TeliaSonera has in recent years set its sights on expanding towards the East, increasing its presence in the Baltic countries, Turkey, Russia and other former Soviet states.

The company meanwhile revised down its sales expectations for all of 2011Wednesday from its previous estimate of a four-percent-hike to an increase of three percent.

Nyberg played down the move though, pointing out that "our outlook for improved EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation) margin for 2011 remains, as the cost reduction initiatives ... will have effect during the second half of this year."

Following Wednesday's earnings report, TeliaSonera, which shares the rank as leading Nordic operator with Telenor, saw its stock price slump 2.7 percent to 48.74 kronor per share shortly after opening on a Stockholm stock exchange up 0.74 percent.

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