UPDATE 1-Tele2 sees strong growth in Swedish mobile

Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:25am EDT

* Second quarter core profit 1.52 bln SEK, in line with forecasts

* Swedish mobile revenues rise

* Trims Kazakhstan sales forecast, group capex for 2013 (Adds detail, background)

STOCKHOLM, July 18 (Reuters) - Nordic and emerging market telecoms group Tele2 on Thursday posted second-quarter core earnings in line with forecasts as the Swedish mobile market continued to shine.

Mobile operators across Europe have been struggling with regulatory pressure and the gloomy consumer environment, but Sweden has continued to grow in recent years.

Service revenues - excluding equipment sales - declined by 6 percent in Europe in 2012, but rose 3 percent in Sweden, according to Citibank.

In the second quarter, Tele2's underlying mobile revenues in Sweden - the company's biggest market accounting for around 42 percent of sales - rose 4 percent.

Growth in Sweden will support Tele2's ambitions to expand in the Netherlands, Norway and Kazakhstan and meet the company's ambitious growth targets for the coming three years.

After selling its Russia unit for $3.5 billion earlier this year, Tele2 outlined said it aimed for annual revenue increases of 5-7 percent and profit growth of 10-12 percent on a compound basis through 2015.

Tele2's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 1.52 billion Swedish crowns ($230.83 million) compared with a forecast of 1.53 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts and flat on a year ago.

The company mainly kept its guidance for 2013, but reduced its forecast for sales in Kazakhstan in 2013 to 1.45-1.55 billion crowns from a previous 1.7-1.8 billion crowns.

It also trimmed its group capex forecast. ($1 = 6.5849 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Simon Johnson; editing by Niklas Pollard)