Telia CEO Johan Dennelind has revealed he is looking for M&A opportunities in the Nordics & Baltics and that he expects to sell off the operator’s assets in Eurasia during 2017.
Dennelind made the comments as he unveiled Telia’s financial report for 2016, which included a disappointing Q4.
Having announced plans to acquire enterprise communications company Phonero in November, the CEO is keen for more.
Dennelind said: “We continue to look for value creative M&A to support our strategy in the Nordics & Baltics.”
He ruled out M&A in Denmark, however, where the operator is reviewing its options.
Telia is refocusing closer as it looks to exit Eurasia.
The latest disposal came in October, when it sold its stake in Indigo Tajikistan (Tcell) to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.
“We see it as highly probable that the Eurasian assets will be disposed during 2017,” Dennelind said.
Telia saw underlying net sales rise 0.2 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter.
On a reported basis, revenue declined 6.7 percent to SEK 21.1 billion while EBITDA declined 2.7 percent to SEK 6.4 billion due to the sale of Spain-based mobile operator Yoigo.
This also helped Telia return to profit, as net income hit SEK 7.3 billion after a loss of SEK 2.6 billion 12 months ago.
But it could not stop Telia’s net income falling 36 percent to SEK 6.5 billion in 2016 as a whole.
Underlying revenue also declined in 2016, falling 0.8 percent.
In reported currency, sales were down 2.7 percent to SEK 84.2 billion, again due to the sale of Yoigo.
In Sweden, Telia’s biggest market, sales fell 0.2 percent at SEK 37.25 billion, but in the rest of Europe, revenues rose 1.2 percent – mainly due to growth in mobile service revenues.
Group EBITDA rose 2.2 percent to SEK 25.8 billion.
Telia ended the year with 16.7 million, 2.6 million and 2.6 million subscriptions in mobile, telephony and fixed broadband respectively.
The biggest decline was in the mobile segment, where customers fell 16 percent year-on-year. Telephony customers declined 11 percent and broadband declined 1 percent. This was again due to the Yoigo sale.
By contrast, Telia reported 1.7 million TV customers across the group, a rise of 3 percent year-on-year.