Telia has reversed a SEK8.6 billion net loss from 2016 by registering a net profit of SEK2.5 billion in its third quarter results.

The change in fortunes was down to a continued programme of disposals and paying less than expected for historical corruption in Uzbekistan.

While former employees face criminal charges, Telia is looking to move on.

Profits took a welcome upturn although reported sales fell 8.8 percent year-on-year to SEK19.6 billion in the three months to 30 September.

However, when stripped of M&A-related issues, revenues were down a more palatable 0.5 percent.

In Sweden, like-for-like sales fell 2.6 percent to SEK8.95 billion as growth in mobile service revenues could not offset lower sales from fixed-line offerings.

The operator noted that digging permits were taking longer to get hold of, and it connected just over half as many homes in Q3 versus the previous quarter.

Fibre revenues dropped 46 percent as a result.

Telia Group CEO Johan Dennelind said: “This is a big hurdle for a faster digitalisation of Sweden.”

[Read more: Telia to cut 850 jobs as it registers Q2 loss]

There was better news in Finland, where sales ticked up 1.5 percent to SEK3.37 billion thanks to increasing mobile service revenues.

In Norway, sales were up 1.3 percent to SEK2.59 billion boosted by the performance of the wholesale division, but revenues in Denmark dropped 0.3 percent to SEK1.47 billion on lower mobile equipment sales.

Group adjusted EBITDA declined 0.4 percent to SEK6.6 billion, mirroring the overall fall in revenue.

Dennelind said: “From a financial aspect I am pleased that we can now show that the trends we have been talking about all year are materialising.

“Both the activities to reduce our cost base and the efforts we have made to improve cash flow are yielding positive results.”

The operator’s move to focus on markets closer to home continued this month when it sold six percent of its shareholding in Russian operator MegaFon.

In September it cashed in its direct stake in Turkcell.

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