Telia CEO Allison Kirkby (pictured) provided an upbeat assessment of its progress, as the operator entered the second year of a strategy revamp focused on cost cutting.

Kirkby highlighted a return to growth on a like-for-like basis during 2021 and noted Telia is on track to create a tower company which will ultimately have an enterprise value of €2.6 billion ($2.9 billion).

Earlier this week, Telia agreed to sell 49 per cent of its Swedish tower business to Brookfield and Alecta for SEK5.5 billion ($581.9 million), following deals for its Finnish and Norwegian assets in 2021.

Telia forecast service revenue and adjusted EBITDA will increase by low single-digit percentages in 2022.

The operator reported net income of SEK11.8 billion for 2021, overturning a SEK22.8 billion loss in 2020, with a profit of SEK1.2 billion in Q4 compared with a SEK24.5 billion loss.

Full-year revenue fell 1 per cent to SEK88.3 billion, although was up 3.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis. Adjusted EBITDA declined 2 per cent to SEK29.9 billion.

Telia’s Q4 EBITDA fell 1.6 per cent to SEK7.3 billion, which Reuters noted was slightly better than the average estimate of SEK7.2 billion from analysts polled by Refinitiv. Revenue was flat at SEK23.4 billion.

Kirkby highlighted “solid service revenue growth” in Telia’s main markets of Sweden and the Baltics, “driven by a stable customer base and rising” ARPU.

Results in Denmark, Finland and Norway “were again mixed but with some positive signs”.

Despite her broad bullishness, Kirkby warned the demands on the communications sector are set to increase further in the year ahead, particularly in view of inflationary pressures on service costs.