TeliaSonera cuts Sweden staff despite profits

TeliaSonera cuts Sweden staff despite profits
The Finnish-Swedish telecommunications operator TeliaSonera posted on Thursday an 8 percent rise in 2012 net profit, slightly better than expected by analysts.

At 19.89 billion kronor ( $3.13 billion), the group’s net profit was “the second highest net earnings since the merger between Telia and Sonera in 2002,” chief executive Lars Nyberg said in a statement.

“All countries in Eurasia are again delivering positive revenue growth in the fourth quarter,” he added.

Sales were steady at 104.9 billion kronor.

At the same time, Nyberg announced that 900 positions would disappear in Sweden.

However, 200 new positions would also be added.

“We in the midst of a shift in competence. We’ve been a telecom company with analog technology for more than 100 years. The technology of the industry is going digital,” said Nyberg.

He wasn’t able to specify exactly where the cuts in Sweden will take place, but the reductions will occur withing broadband and mobile services.

The sale of shares in MegaFon, the second biggest Russian mobile operator provided TeliaSonera with fresh cash that boosted its free cash flow to 23.7 million kronor, the company said.

It forecast a slight increase in sales this year, depending on the value of the Swedish krona on foreign exchange markets.

TeliaSonera also plans to pursue restructuring plans and said in October that it would eliminate 2,000 positions, roughly 7.0 percent of its total staff.

The telecoms operator said it had hired a law firm to conduct an external investigation into “severe media allegations of corruption and money laundering, related to our investments in Uzbekistan, dating back to 2007.”

The law firm is scheduled to release its findings later on Thursday.

A separate probe by Swedish prosecutors might take up to two years to complete, the company added.

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