Swedish telecoms heavyweight TeliaSonera has reported its group financial results for the fourth quarter of 2015 – which classify its held-for-sale ‘Eurasia’ mobile division as ‘discontinued operations’, despite being at an early stage of its strategic plan to withdraw from central Asian regions and refocus on Nordic and Baltic operations. Consolidated group net revenues increased by 5.9% year-on-year to SEK22.655 billion (USD2.611 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2015, while underlying quarterly service revenues in local currencies, excluding acquisitions and disposals, grew 1.1%. EBITDA, excluding non-recurring items, grew by 11.1% year-on-year to SEK6.556 billion in October-December 2015, improving the group’s EBITDA margin to 28.9% (from 27.6% in Q414). Operating income (EBIT) increased 2.8% y-o-y to SEK4.938 billion in Q4 2015, while net income swung to a quarterly loss of SEK3.010 million (compared to net profit of SEK2.938 billion in 4Q14, largely due to the impact of non-cash write-downs totalling SEK7.200 billion which, as previously reported, consisted of an impairment charge of SEK5.3 billion related to operations in Uzbekistan and SEK1.9 billion impairment related to the withdrawal from a proposed joint venture with Telenor in Denmark.
In TeliaSonera’s full-year 2015 results (regarding Eurasia as discontinued operations), net revenue increased 6.7% to SEK86.569 billion with an underlying 0.4% decline in local currency service revenues excluding acquisitions and disposals. Reported EBITDA rose 3.8% to SEK25.281 billion in 2015. Annual net income dropped by 41% to SEK8.551 billion in 2015 from the SEK14.502 billion profits posted the previous year, mainly impacted by the aforementioned non-cash write-downs in Q4. TeliaSonera has set a target in 2016 of maintaining EBITDA from continuing operations (in local currencies, excluding non-recurring items/acquisitions/disposals) at the same level as in 2015. 2016 will also see increased investments in fibre, mobile coverage and network transformation, with CAPEX for continuing operations, excluding licences and spectrum fees, expected to be SEK14 billion-SEK15 billion, compared to SEK14.285 billion invested in 2015 (up from SEK11.955 billion in 2014).
In Sweden, TeliaSonera finished 2015 with 6.067 million mobile customers (down 1.9% y-o-y), 1.306 million fixed broadband subscribers (up 2.4%), 1.896 million reported fixed telephony lines in service (down 7.7%) and 730,000 pay-TV customers (up 4.7%). In the rest of Europe (Finland, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Spain) TeliaSonera reported 13.914 million mobile subscribers (up 5.7%), 1.283 million broadband connections (up 1.2%), 942,000 fixed voice accesses (down 3.9%) and 900,000 pay-TV consumers (up 5.4%).