UPDATE 2-Tele2 sees slower growth in Russia

Среда, 14 декабря 2011 14:52 MSK

* Customer intake slowed in November after weak October

* Tele2 sees 20.6-20.7 mln Russian subscribers by year-end

* Shares down 4.1 percent (Adds analyst comment, share price reaction)

By Simon Johnson and Olof Swahnberg

STOCKHOLM, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Tele2 has trimmed its forecast for subscriber growth in Russia due to pressure from competitors, knocking the Swedish telecoms group's shares on fears its growth engine was slowing.

"We have chosen to focus on our activities on reducing the value of customer churn rather than on competing on net intake," chief executive Mats Granryd said on Wednesday.

Tele2's customer base has been expanding fast over the past few years as it rolled out networks across the vast country and took subscribers from existing operators.

But growth has slowed sharply since the summer. While larger rivals MTS and Vimpelcom are regaining traction in the Russian market, Tele2 has been focusing on profitability.

Carnegie analyst Lena Osterberg said Tele2 had reached a relatively high penetration level in its regional markets, making a slowdown in growth numbers not altogether surprising.   Продолжение...