Telia to slash hundreds of jobs in Sweden

Telia has announced plans to cut 850 jobs across the company, of which 650 are based in Sweden.

Telia to slash hundreds of jobs in Sweden
Telia's headquarters in Sweden. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Telia said it needed to continue to cut costs for the company, as the Swedish telecom giant presented weaker-than-expected results in its second quarter report on Thursday.

“During the second quarter 2017 we have launched initiatives to reduce our cost base, just as we indicated in the first quarter. The main impact will be in Sweden where the operational expenses are still too high,” said Telia president and CEO Johan Dennelind in a statement.

Adjusted operating income declined 16.7 percent to just above 3.7 billion kronor in the second quarter of the year, said Telia.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 4.6 percent to 6,095 million kronor in reported currency, down 3.3 percent in local currencies. Net sales fell 6.3 percent to 19.8 billion, down from last year's 21.13 billion kronor.

Dennelind admitted some of the results “disappointed”, but retained a positive outlook for the year.

“Even if, frankly speaking, EBITDA in the quarter disappoints for Sweden, we reiterate our EBITDA outlook for the full year based on strong performance elsewhere, notably Norway, and the initiated cost activities that are coming through in second half of 2017,” he said.

He cited increased operational expenses and development of the fiber network in Sweden slowing down as reasons behind the second-quarter dip.

“It's becoming more difficult to deliver on the fiber demand still prevailing, even if our 1.9 million household target is intact for end 2018. We are still the leading and driving force in Sweden for this but we now start to reach the tail of the fiber roll-out potential,” said Dennelind.

“We struggle with permit and intermediary related issues in connecting households to our fiber network. Some of the roll-out challenge is also related to shifts in the market dynamics, which have led to longer delivery processes. Given that the second quarter is traditionally a quarter where many households are connected, these issues had a clear negative impact on revenues and profitability.”

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Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”