TeliaSonera says outlook good on smart phones, Asia

October 25, 2010
TeliaSoneras Chief Executive Lars Nyberg gestures during a news conference in Stockholm presenting results for the third quarter. Nordic telecoms giant TeliaSonera said on Monday that sales of smart phones, coupled with growth in eastern Europe and Asia, was boosting profits and the outlook for results this year.

Nordic telecoms giant TeliaSonera said on Monday that sales of smart phones, coupled with growth in eastern Europe and Asia, was boosting profits and the outlook for results this year.

The company raised its 2010 forecasts as it reported increased third-quarter net profits.

"Both and Eurasia are seeing accelerated growth compared to previous quarters," company chief executive Lars Nyberg said in the earnings report.

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

For the July-to-September quarter, the Swedish company posted a 19-percent rise in net profit to 5.99 billion kronor (650 million euros, 914 million dollars), on sales which slipped one percent to 26.75 billion kronor.

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

TeliaSonera's smart phones helped boost its profits, with soaring sales and surging data traffic in its Nordic home market.

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

"The new 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.

TeliaSonera meanwhile 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, the telecoms giant 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 like Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Georgia.

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