Telia Sonera first-quarter earnings up

Stockholm  - Nordic telecommunications group Telia Sonera on Friday reported increased pre-tax income on higher sales for first quarter 2008, benefiting from its markets in Eurasia.

The group said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was 7.75 billion kronor (1.3 billion dollars), compared to 7.58 billion kronor in the corresponding business period 2007.

Sales in the quarter increased 7.4 per cent to 24.39 billion kronor.

Chief executive Lars Nyberg said the group reported "a satisfactory set of numbers," noting that "the growth engine of the group, Eurasia, continued its strong development."

Nyberg earlier announced job cuts of some 2,900 employees, two-thirds in Sweden and one-third in Finland, were to be conducted. Two-thirds of the 4 billion kronor cost was to be carried in 2008.

In its outlook, Telia Sonera expected sales in 2008 to show "stable growth".

Telia Sonera said that sales in Eurasia rose 31 per cent with strong markets in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Telia Sonera and its associated companies had some 119.3 million customers in the quarter, up 19.8 per cent from the end of the first quarter 2007.

Stiff competition remained on the mobile telephone operations in many markets, including Sweden and Finland.

Northern Europe's largest telecommunications concern was formed through the December 2002 merger of Sweden's Telia and Finland's Sonera. It also has operations in Norway, Denmark, the Baltic states, Russia and Turkey. (dpa)

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