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BUSINESS

Swedish Ericsson sees shares sink after missing expectations

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson reported lower-than-expected profits for the third quarter on Thursday, sending its shares diving as the company stressed rising uncertainty in global markets.

Swedish Ericsson sees shares sink after missing expectations
File photo of Ericsson's CEO Börje Ekholm. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ericsson’s shares sank by more than 11 percent as the Stockholm stock exchange opened.

Sweden’s Ericsson reported a net profit of 5.4 billion Swedish kronor ($480 million) between July and September, down seven percent compared to a year earlier.

It was below analyst expectations of between 5.7 billion and 5.9 billion kronor, according to surveys by financial data firm FactSet and Bloomberg news agency.

The lower profits were partly due to Ericsson’s $6.2 billion acquisition of US cloud communications company Vonage.

Chief executive Börje Ekholm said the company would “continue to be proactive in reviewing options to reduce costs.”

“Cost efficiency is also crucial to allow investments in technology leadership and to strengthen our resilience in an uncertain market,” Ekholm said in a statement.

He added that Ericsson was making “pricing adjustments” as inflation soars worldwide.

Ericsson reported an increase in net sales to 68 billion kronor, up from 56.3 billion kronor the year before, but its sales were impacted by its departures from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Ericsson said the withdrawal from the Russian market impacted sales by 800 million kronor.

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BUSINESS

‘I was too ambitious’, says Spotify CEO as tech giant cuts 6 percent of workforce

Spotify founder Daniel Ek said he had been 'too ambitious' as the Swedish streaming giant on Monday announced it is cutting six percent of its approximately 10,000 employees.

'I was too ambitious', says Spotify CEO as tech giant cuts 6 percent of workforce

The company did not specify where the cuts will be made.

“In hindsight, I was too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth. And for this reason, today, we are reducing our employee base by about  six percent across the company,” Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek said on Spotify’s official blog.

“I take full accountability for the moves that got us here today,” Ek added.

The 39-year-old CEO added that over the next several hours “one-on-one conversations will take place with all impacted employees.”

He said HR business partners are working with employees whose immigration status is connected with their employment.

Shares in the Sweden-based company, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, rose over 4.5 percent following the announcement in out-of-hours trading.

Spotify has invested heavily since its launch to fuel growth with expansions into new markets and, in later years, exclusive content such as podcasts.

It has invested over a billion dollars into podcasts alone and raised hackles last year as it signed a $100 million multi-year deal with controversial star podcaster Joe Rogan.

The company has never posted a full-year net profit despite its success in the online music market.

In 2017, the company had around 3,000 staff members, more than tripling the figure to around 9,800 at the end on 2022.

It planned to reach 479 million monthly active users by the end of 2022, including 202 million paying subscribers and is targeting one billion users by 2030.

“While I believe this decision is right for Spotify, I understand that with our historic focus on growth, many of you will view this as a shift in our culture,” Ek said.

‘Unsustainable’

To offer perspective, Ek noted that the growth of the company’s operating expenditure had outpaced revenue growth by a factor of two.

“That would have been unsustainable long-term in any climate, but with a challenging macro environment, it would be even more difficult to close the gap,” Ek said.

The company’s annual turnover reached 9.6 billion euros ($10.4 billion) in 2021.

Reporting its third quarter earnings in October, Spotify said it had 456 million monthly active users, of which 195 million were paying subscribers – who account for the majority of Spotify’s income.

In recent months, tech giants such as Google parent company Alphabet, Facebook-owner Meta, Amazon and Microsoft have announced tens of thousands of job cuts as the sector faces economic headwinds.

On Friday, Alphabet announced it would cut 12,000 positions, just a day after Microsoft announced a cut of 10,000.

The cuts in the tech sector follow a major hiring spree during the height of the coronavirus pandemic when companies scrambled to meet demand as people went online for work, school and entertainment.

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