UPDATE 1-TeliaSonera to target fibre buys to boost networks

Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:27am EDT

* Core profit 8.9 bln SEK vs forecast 8.8 bln

* Net sales in local currencies increased 0.4 pct

* Sticks to 2013 outlook (Adds fibre acquisition goal, background)

STOCKHOLM, July 17 (Reuters) - Telecom operator TeliaSonera said on Wednesday it would look to buy fibre-optic networks in its home markets as it looks to broaden its range of services and boost network quality to fight off tough competition.

Telia, which has seen revenues flat since 2008 due to intense competition and pressure from regulators, is building out its high speed mobile network in the Nordic and Baltic region and fibre networks will allow it to boost fixed broadband and other services.

It hopes bigger capacity and better network quality will attract customers away from cut price rivals like Tele2 and Telenor.

"Network quality and capacity are crucial to meet the exploding demand for data; therefore we will further invest in 4G and mobile coverage, expand within fiber and selectively target acquisitions of existing fiber networks in our home markets," the company said.

Telia reported second-quarter profit roughly in line with expectations on Wednesday as cost cuts and growth in emerging markets offset competitive pressure in the Nordic region.

Finnish rival Elisa earlier this week said competition would likely remain tough for the rest of the year and it would focus on cost cuts.

Telenor will publish its results on July 23.

Telia's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), excluding non-recurring items, were 8.9 billion Swedish crowns ($1.35 billion) versus the average forecast of 8.8 billion in a Reuters poll and last year's 9.0 billion.

It repeated its outlook for the year for flat sales in local currencies and a slight improvement in its core profit margin in 2013. ($1 = 6.5815 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Simon Johnson; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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