Tele2 CEO Kjell Johnsen (pictured) argued the operator had mitigated short-term headwinds caused by the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in Q4 2020, as it targets additional cost-savings to offset the impact of expected lower roaming revenue.

In an earnings statement, Johnsen said the company had shifted focus at the onset of the pandemic towards executing long-term objectives such as the launch of 5G, business transformation programmes and annual price adjustments in its consumer market in Sweden.

“We have now good clarity on external and internal factors going forward and can fully focus on execution,” he said.

Revenue declined 3 per cent year-on-year to SEK6.9 billion ($818.6 million), due to reduced termination rates between operators and a decline in equipment sales in Sweden.

The company said it suffered a negative impact of SEK70 million from the pandemic, but this offset with strong growth in the Baltics and cost reduction in Sweden.

Net profit grew from SEK753 million in Q4 2019 to SEK4.8 billion, with the increase mainly coming from recycled income from the sale of its business in Luxembourg, which will have no impact on total assets or equity long-term.

Going forward, Johnsen said the company remains a cash generative company, which is why it would maintain its SEK6 dividend per share.

Excluding spectrum and leasing assets, capex was forecast to reach SEK2.8 billion to SEK3.3 billion for full year 2021 and service revenue will remain flat, assuming international roaming at a similar level to 2020.

“We will compensate for the lack of meaningful end user service revenue growth by reducing cost as we ramp up the business transformation programme,” added Johnsen.