Telia said its core business was “on track” in Q3, as its bottom line was hit by an SEK12.5 billion ($1.4 billion) provision related to its activities in Uzbekistan, but a deal to sell some Eurasian subsidiaries now looks further off.
The operator previously revealed it was facing a $1.4 billion fine related to its entry into the Uzbek market in 2007, having acknowledged – more than once – that it had “seen and found wrongdoings” in the process.
In the results statement, Telia also said that together with Turkcell, it will “explore a joint divestiture of Fintur Holdings”, most likely in 2017. Previously, Turkcell was a likely buyer for Telia’s stake in the business, which operates in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Moldova.
According to reports earlier this year, there was some concerns that following the Uzbek probe, Fintur may attract the attention of the authorities (although there has been no sign so far). The pending renewal of a licence in Azerbaijan is also a potential stumbling block.
Elsewhere, the company saw something of a mixed performance. Sweden, CEO Johan Dennelind said, “remains characterised by stable growth in the consumer segment, but pressure in parts of the enterprise area”.
And its Europe unit saw “good progress,” with the majority of operations posting positive mobile service revenue growth. In Finland, mobile-billed revenue growth was 6 per cent, supported by upselling and price adjustments, while in Norway, “the customer perception of the Telia brand improved further”.
The company has sold its Spanish business, Yoigo, in line with its efforts to focus on the Nordic and Baltic regions.
For the quarter, the company reported a net loss attributable to shareholders of SEK8.81 billion, compared with a prior-year profit of SEK4.59 billion, on revenue of SEK21.52 billion, down 0.9 per cent from SEK21.71 billion.