Telia took a major hit on its earnings in the third quarter, slipping to a loss of SEK 8.81 billion (€910 million) in the period, mainly on the back of a SEK 12.5 billion (€1.29 billion) settlement related to bribery allegations over its entry into Uzbekistan in 2007.
In total, net income slumped by SEK 13.4 billion (€1.38 billion), from SEK 4.59 billion (€470 million) in the same period in 2015.
The operator’s SEK 12.24 billion (€1.26 billion) loss from discontinuing operations covered its disposal of mobile operator Yoigo in Spain, credit management firm Sergel in the Nordics, and mobile operator Ncell in India, as well as its continued withdrawal from the ‘Eurasia’ region after the Uzbeki fall-out.
Telia is also in the process of selling its 60 percent stake in Tadjik operator Tcell to Aga Kahn Foundation for Economic Development (AKFED, and its majority share in Balkan group Fintur Holdings to Turkcell, as part of its broader exit from Eurasia.
In the third quarter, operating income fell 16 percent to SEK 4.74 billion, compared with a year ago.
Sales and EBITDA also slipped, by 1.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, down to SEK 21,524 billion and SEK 6,850 billion.
Service revenues were down 1.1 percent to SEK 18.41 billion.
The Sweden-based group announced US and Dutch authorities had “suggested” it pay a settlement fee of $1.4 billion (€1.29 billion) in September to resolve long-running allegations of historical corruption at its operating company in Uzbekistan, linked to its acquisition of spectrum in the market.
Johan Dennelind, President and CEO at Telia, said: “It is at present not possible to make a certain assessment on the final outcome or time for resolution, but we believe we are approaching the end of these investigations.
"During the last three years we have repeatedly said that we have seen and found wrongdoings in how the entry into Uzbekistan happened.
“From 2013 we have worked intensely to significantly improve our agenda around responsible business.
"These improvements are further outlined in our latest Sustainability Update report issued today, and this is a journey with no end.
"It is an ongoing part of the way we now do business – to learn and improve.”
The company maintained its 2016 guidance, in line with 2015.