TeliaSonera’s 9M15 service revenues drop 1% in local currency terms; expects annual EBITDA drop

21 Oct 2015

Consolidated revenues in the first nine months of 2015 increased 7.9% year-on-year to SEK80.186 billion (USD9.658 billion) at Swedish telecoms group TeliaSonera, up from SEK74.328 billion in the same period of 2014. However, the multinational operator disclosed that revenues in local currency terms excluding acquisitions and disposals rose at a lower rate of 1.8% in the same period, whilst underlying service revenues in local currencies, excluding acquisitions and disposals, decreased by 1.0%. Net income attributable to owners of the parent company was virtually unchanged at SEK11.561 billion in January-September 2015 (compared to SEK11.563 billion in 9M14).

In Sweden, TeliaSonera’s net revenues climbed 2.4% in the first nine months of 2015 to SEK27.443 billion, with Swedish 9M EBITDA excluding one-offs reported at SEK10.459 billion (down 3.6% year-on-year). Swedish mobile subscribers stood at 6.138 million at end-September 2015, down 1.5% y-o-y, while fixed broadband customers rose 2.9% to 1.296 million over the same period. Pay-TV subscribers also increased, by 4.7% y-o-y to 713,000.

In the rest of Europe, TeliaSonera recorded a total of 14.152 million mobile customers at end-September 2015, up from 13.226 million twelve months earlier, alongside 1.269 million fixed broadband users (1.251 million). In the group’s Eurasia division, there were 37.298 million mobile subscribers across seven countries at the end of 3Q15, up from 36.915 million a year earlier.

A company statement drew attention to the Sweden and Europe divisions both turning to positive organic EBITDA growth in the third quarter, with only two out of seven countries in TeliaSonera’s European footprint reporting quarterly negative EBITDA growth. The Swedish firm also noted that integration of the recently acquired Tele2 Norway is ‘well on track’, whilst stating that following the collapse of a proposed merger with Telenor Denmark in September, TeliaSonera will ‘continue to seek ways to improve profitability’ at its Danish unit, where it says that ‘returns remain insufficient’.

Elsewhere, having recently decided to increase focus on Europe and Sweden and reduce its Eurasia presence, TeliaSonera stated in its 9M15 report that ‘the process to leave the region has already commenced.’ Performance in Eurasia in January-September 2015 was impacted by increased margin pressure at K’cell in Kazakhstan, where price competition is fierce, while profitability was also affected by ‘increased interconnect costs due to higher off-net volumes following recent product launches.’ TeliaSonera added that it has ‘undertaken actions to mitigate the impact but the expectation is that the trends will continue short term.’ As a result, full-year outlook was tweaked, with the group now expecting EBITDA to drop slightly on a local currency organic basis, whilst foreseeing global CAPEX spend of SEK17 billion. The outlook excludes the projected SEK700 million merger synergies in Norway for 2015, with a run rate of SEK1 billion when the NetCom-Tele2 Norway operational merger is fully implemented in 2016.

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