Nordic telecoms group TeliaSonera posted a 10% increase in second quarter underlying EBITDA to SKR7.928 billion (USD1.092 billion), buoyed by improved margins from its mobile operations, synergies from acquisitions, and higher revenues. The result was above average market forecasts of SKR7.83 billion. The underlying EBITDA margin rose to 34.9% from 33.1%, with all operations except those in the Baltics and Sweden increasing their margins year-on-year. Revenues increased 4.5% to SKR22.737 billion. In Sweden TeliaSonera’s turnover fell 6% to SKR9.208 billion, and underlying EBITDA margin slipped to 36.5% from 37.2%, which the company attributed to strong price pressure ‘in all product areas.’ In Finland, sales decreased 2.9% to SKR4.171 billion, while the underlying EBITDA margin rose to 25.3% from 20.2%. TeliaSonera said its mobile revenues increased in Eurasia by 40%, while in Norway they rose by 30%, with Denmark and the Baltics also reporting growth. In Finland, the company said the withdrawal of Saunalahti from its network and historic price decreases led to lower mobile turnover, while lower mobile tariffs in Sweden meant revenue also fell despite call volume growth. At its fixed line communications division, the company said demand for broadband continued to be strong and sales increased in all markets. Turnover at associated cellcos Megafon and Turkcell increased sharply. TeliaSonera’s total customer base increased 26% year-on-year. At the end of June 2006 it had 29 million customers at its majority-owned operations and 59 million subscribers at associated companies. The Stockholm-based operator reiterated its previous outlook, saying it expects mobile and broadband subscriber growth to continue, and for group sales to ‘grow’, adding that ‘free cash flow will remain strong.’
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