UPDATE 1-Elisa misses forecast as recession hits Nordic telecoms
* Q4 EBITDA 124 mln euros, against 131 mln euro forecast
* Shares fall 5 pct (Recasts with outlook, adds share move)
HELSINKI Feb 6 (Reuters) - Finland's Elisa forecast a weak first half of the year after lower than expected quarterly profit showed that Europe's recession is beginning to hurt previously resilient Nordic telecoms companies.
The European telecoms sector has been struggling with slower growth and tough competition. Nordic companies initially resisted the unfavourable conditions, but both Sweden's Tele2 and TeliaSonera AB have also reported weak results for the fourth quarter.
Shares in Elisa fell 5 percent after it announced fourth-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 124 million euros ($168 million), against a consensus forecast of 131 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.
The telecoms operator noted a recent flurry of job cuts at Finnish companies, an indication that businesses will require fewer phone lines, and forecast first-half EBITDA to be lower than a year earlier.
"The macroeconomic environment in Finland is still expected to be weak in 2013, with several companies already announcing employee reductions. This weakness is expected to be more pronounced during the first half of the year," it said in a statement.
The shares were down 86 cents at 16.20 euros by 0815 GMT. ($1 = 0.7392 euros) (Reporting by Helsinki newsroom; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters and David Goodman)
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