Tele2 revamps management team with new CEOs in Sweden, Netherlands

Sweden-based Tele2 has made a number of key changes to its group management, including the appointment of new CEOs for its businesses in the Netherlands and Sweden.

The operator, which traditionally acts as a challenger in its markets and recently launched a 4G network in the Netherlands, said Malin Holmberg has been appointed CEO of the Dutch unit with effect from Apr. 1, replacing Jeff Dodds who is leaving to take up a new role at TalkTalk in the UK.

Holmberg is currently EVP Central Europe and CEO of Tele2 Croatia and has worked for Tele2 since 2009. Prior to that she worked within the Vodafone Group.

Tele2 Group president and CEO Allison Kirkby said Holmberg had been appointed to "take Tele2 Netherlands forward in its new 'post launch' stage."

"Malin's experiences in the Tele2 Group, as CEO in Croatia and as MAD for Central Europe within the leadership team have prepared her well for this new opportunity within our company," Kirkby said.

Other key changes include the appointment of a new CEO for Tele2 Sweden. Samuel Skott is to take over the position with effect from Apr. 18, replacing Thomas Ekman who is taking on new challenges outside the company.

In addition, Lars Nordmark, currently CFO of Securitas Direct AB, will join Tele2 as EVP and CFO as of Apr. 18, replacing interim CFO James Maclaurin.

The changes were announced as Tele2 reported its group earnings for the fourth quarter and full year of 2015.

Kirkby noted that the fourth quarter "marked the end of a very eventful year, and further evidence of our challenger spirit in our pursuit to be the champion of customer value in mobile connectivity."

"We launched our nationwide 4G only network, the world's first, in the Netherlands as well as completed the agreement to combine our mobile business with Kazakhtelecom's," she said.

However, analysts from Jefferies International picked up on the company's lower EBITDA guidance for 2016, noting that it was a "surprise" that guidance was more than 10 per cent below consensus estimates.

The analysts said the guidance was for 2016 EBITDA of SEK4.6 billion (€495 million/$539 million) to SEK5 billion, compared to the consensus forecast of SEK5.51 billion and Jefferies' own estimate of SEK5.34 billion.

"Even if consensus might be lagging the [third-quarter] indications for Dutch losses [due to increased investments], we consider the outlook weak," the analysts said, noting that the outlook "will likely raise questions."

For the full year of 2015, Tele2 saw net sales increase by 3 per cent year-on-year to SEK26.8 billion, while EBITDA was down 3 per cent at SEK5.75 billion. Net profit was 52 per cent lower at SEK2.82 billion.

In the fourth quarter of the year, EBITDA was down 5 per cent at SEK1.3 billion. Kirkby said this decline was expected due to "our accelerated launch in the Netherlands and devaluation in Kazakhstan." The quarterly net profit was much lower at SEK45 million compared to SEK494 million a year ago. The company noted that deferred tax assets amounted to SEK2 billion at the end of the year.

For more:
- see this Tele2 release on management changes
- see this Tele2 results statement

Related articles:
Europe's operators ring in 2016 with strong data, text traffic growth
Tele2 Netherlands seeks to drown subscribers with LTE data deluge
Tele2 and Kazakhtelecom to form mobile JV in Kazakhstan
Tele2 CEO says management reshuffle will deliver improved customer focus
Tele2 hires 'veteran' James Maclaurin as interim CFO

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