Telia acting president and CEO Christian Luiga (pictured) hailed improvements in its financial performance in Q4 2019, though warned of an expected decline in legacy services and continued competitive pressure in 2020.

In its earnings statement, Luiga said Telia was “clearly aware of the challenges that the telecom industry is facing” and expected “tough competition in core and new services”.

He said the company was well placed to respond given its current operating model and ongoing projects to reduce overheads. The group has been undertaking a programme of cost-cutting measures and unit divestment since 2015.

Luiga said the company had delivered on its financial targets for 2019, noting it achieved increased cost efficiencies on goods sold and made further cuts in operational expenses.

In line with goals introduced under former CEO Johan Dennelind, who quit the role in September 2019, Telia plans to snip a further 2 per cent from its operating expenses during 2020.

Net profit of SEK1.4 billion ($145.7 million) in Q4 2019 overturned a loss of SEK1.6 billion in the same period of 2018, when income was impacted by costs associated with its exit from markets in Eurasia.

Revenue was up slightly from SEK22.2 billion to SEK22.8 billion.

Big plans
In addition to financial targets, the company reiterated its intent to drastically cut its environmental impact. By 2022 it intends to switch to entirely renewable electricity, lower per subscriber energy consumption, become climate neutral within its own operations and engage with suppliers on their impacts.

In terms of its commercial performance, Luiga noted Telia was yet to reach its full potential adding it was “gradually improving” predominantly in its home market of Sweden.

He added convergence would form a key part of its strategy in the coming year, as it seeks to cut churn and use data analytics to improve targeting of offers to existing customers.