Telia chief Johan Dennelind hailed the impact of the company’s SEK1.1 billion ($122 million) cost-cutting initiative, reporting improved Q3 earnings, however progress in its home market of Sweden remained slow.

In the company’s earnings statement, the executive said he was unhappy with the progress of cuts to its Swedish operation – which has just replaced its CEO.

“Even though we have reduced costs year-to-date in Sweden under the cost program, we are still not happy with the pace of the turn-around,” Dennelind (pictured) said. “We know there is clear large potential for improvements over the years to come.”

The company has a plan in place to reorganise its business structure in the country, creating a new Common Products and Services division, but warned benefits from changes will likely not be seen until 2020.

In the three months to the end of September, Telia reported net income of SEK3 billion, up from an adjusted profit of SEK2.6 billion in the same period last year.

The company’s reported figures for 2017 were adjusted to remove the impact of operations disposed of as part of its strategy to sell operations in Eurasia and focus on its core markets in the Nordics and Baltic regions.

Revenue for the period, excluding units now sold off, was up 5.5 per cent year-on-year to SEK20.7 billion.

Dennelind attributed the improved performance to: “strong execution of the cost ambition as well as delivering synergies and stronger propositions to customers from the acquisitions we have done in recent years”.

During the quarter it completed the deal to acquire the Norway division of fixed, broadband and TV company TDC. Telia is also in the process of attempting to obtain regulatory approval form the European Commission to acquire Bonnier Broadcasting, a transaction it expects to complete by the end of Q1 2019.

Dennelind added performance from units in Norway and its central regions drove growth in Q3, while its bottom-line was also helped by positive currency movements.