Telekom Austria Group has seen third quarter profits fall by almost nine percent in its home market but expressed confidence about the months ahead by upgrading its sales outlook for the year.

The operator's Q3 results revealed sales growth of 3.5 percent to €1.11 billion, with service revenues up 2.7 percent to €987.1 million.

However, EBITDA dropped 1.3 percent to €410.1 million for the three months to 30 September, which TAG blamed on factors including the recent acquisition of Belarusian fixed-line provider Garant in August, negative foreign exchange effects, and a one-off payment of almost €6 million relating to a legal settlement in Bulgaria.

In its home market, EBITDA dropped 8.7 percent to €254.1 million on sales growth of 1.2 percent to €655.3 million.

The Austrian opco bagged a €13.3 million profits boost in the quarter due to positive effects from a restructure.

However, excluding one-off factors, EBITDA fell 1.1 percent as cost increases did not bring about a leap in sales from retail fixed-line and equipment products.

The opco, which trades as A1, also saw wireless subscriptions decline 1.6 percent to 5.4 million during the quarter, as contract customer growth failed to outpace the market-wide shift away from prepay.

A1 Chief Executive Margarete Schramböck left the company last week after only 18 months in the role.

There was better news in its other markets, with sales increasing in Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia.

Belarus was the stand-out, with sales up 10.3 percent on "strong operational growth", said the company.

Macedonia was the only foreign market to report a sales decline, with revenues down 0.2 percent during the quarter.

Subscriptions across all markets nudged up 0.5 percent to 20.8 million.

TAG Group CEO Alejandro Plater said the operator's sales growth, company-wide "operational improvement", the recent acquisition of Swiss cloud provider Exoscale and plans to extend the A1 brand to all of its markets made him optimistic about the future.

He said: "Given all these developments, our expectation of growth in Group revenues in the year 2017 is increased to approximately 3% on a reported basis.”

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