January 29, 2020 / 7:51 AM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-Finland's Elisa reports Q4 profit rise, buyback

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Jan 29 (Reuters) - Finnish telecoms provider Elisa reported a 6% rise in fourth quarter core profit on Wednesday boosted by mobile services and proposed a share buyback of up to 3% of its stock.

Elisa reported adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 168 million euros ($186.4 million), in line with analysts’ forecasts in a Refinitiv Eikon poll.

In addition to the buyback, Elisa proposed a dividend of 1.85 euros for 2019, which was at the top of analysts’ expectations, which ranged from 1.78 to 1.85 euros.

Elisa, which competes with Telia and Telenor’s DNA in Finland, said it expects 2020 revenue and EBITDA “at the same level or slightly higher than in 2019.”

The market consensus on Elisa sees a 2% rise in sales and 3.4% growth in EBITDA in 2020, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

“Competition in the Finnish telecommunications market remains keen,” CEO Veli-Matti Mattila said in the company’s earnings statement.

Reflecting the level of competition Elisa faces, its mobile customer turnover (churn) stood at 20.1% in the quarter.

$1 = 0.9014 euros Reporting by Tarmo Virki; editing by Shri Navaratnam and Jason Neely

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