STOCKHOLM–Nordic telecoms giant TeliaSonera said on Monday that sales of smartphones, 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 Mobility Services 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 sales, 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 (US$914 million), on sales which slipped one percent to 26.75 billion kronor. The company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization, or EBITDA, meanwhile soared to the highest level ever, Nyberg said.
TeliaSonera’s smartphones helped boost its profits, with soaring sales and surging data traffic in its Nordic home market. “In the Nordic region, the uptake of smart phones is boosting our mobile data revenues and equipment sales. Today, seven out of ten customers in Sweden are buying a smartphone with higher usage and average revenue per user as a result,” Nyberg said. “The new iPhone 4 has been very well received by our customers and we can now see that other smartphone 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.