TeliaSonera rues difficult 2013

European operator group TeliaSonera has posted a year on year decline in net revenue and net income for the full year 2013. Net sales for the year fell three per cent from SEK104.90bn ($16.44bn) in 2012 to SEK101.7bn in 2013, while net income dropped 20.8 per cent year on year, from SEK21.168bn in 2012 to SEK16.77bn in 2013. The firm cited the uncertain macroeconomic climate in many of the markets it operates in, regulatory impact and rapidly changing customer behaviour among the challenges it faced over the course of the year.

In December last year, TeliaSonera refreshed its executive management team following the dismissal of four senior executive members earlier that  month.

The operator group added that in March 2013, it became one of Europe’s first operators to offer customers the opportunity to connect multiple mobile devices to one subscription and shared data plans. It said it has now launched data-centric pricing models in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Lithuania and Finland. The group also said it has launched 4G services in all the Nordic and Baltic countries it operates in, as well as in Spain, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Around 28 per cent of TeliaSonera’s customer base in the Nordic and Baltic regions are using fibre-based connections and its TV service customer base in Sweden surpassed 600,000 in the summer, enabling it to reach the number two position in the Swedish TV market.

TeliaSonera sought to update investors regarding allegations of bribery in Uzbekistan. It noted that Swedish law firm Mannheimer Swartling released a report on the operator’s investments in Uzbekistan in early February last year. The law firm did not establish any evidence that bribery or money laundering had occurred. However, there remained suspicions of criminal activity among the Swedish Prosecution Authority that were not dismissed by the investigation, and CEO Lars Nyberg left the firm as a consequence. The operator’s board then appointed law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to launch a review of its transactions in Eurasia and it appointed Johan Dennelind as president and CEO as of September 1, 2013.

“I assumed the position of CEO in September 2013, and my initial observations were that TeliaSonera has a solid asset base, attractive footprint, strong brands and competent people,” said Dennelind.

“However, our position has weakened in too many markets and it is vital to strengthen our competitiveness. In a fast changing landscape we have to develop a company culture that encourages agility and innovation.”

He added that the firm must deliver a differentiated customer experience and reduce complexity in its processes and offerings to improve its competitiveness in local markets. Dennelind also stated that he has launched a comprehensive programme to rebuild TeliaSonera’s reputation towards stakeholders, claiming that doing so is “a prerequisite for [the group’s] future survival”.

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