UPDATE 1-Telecoms firm Millicom sees faster growth this year

Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:11am EST

* Sees mid to high single-digit revenue growth in 2014

* Growth ticks up in Q4

* Shares rise 6 pct (Adds company comment, background, detail)

STOCKHOLM, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Emerging-markets telecoms group Millicom forecast high-end services like cable TV and broadband would grow faster this year, after reporting fourth-quarter core profit in line with expectations on Tuesday.

After years of expanding in Latin America and Africa, Millicom has shifted its focus from acquiring new mobile subscribers to selling more profitable data services to its customers and has also diversified into online ventures like African shopping site Jumia.

The Swedish-listed company said it expected revenue growth to accelerate at a mid to high single-digit rate this year, at constant exchange rates. Revenue grew on a comparable basis by 5.5 percent in 2013.

Millicom said it passed 50 million customers at the end of the year and added 100,000 new data users each week during the fourth quarter, meaning 20 percent of its customers now use mobile data services.

"There are few assets in the telecom sector that are showing clear growth currently," Danske Markets analyst Erik Pers said.

"Millicom's growth figures were clearly impressive, both on the client additions and revenues which beat forecasts."

Millicom shares were up 5.9 percent at 673.50 crowns at 0850 GMT.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to $465 million in the fourth quarter from $528 million a year earlier, in line with the average forecast of $462 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Revenue rose to $1.37 billion compared with expectations of $1.34 billion and $1.27 billion a year ago.

The firm last year set a target of increasing revenue to $9 billion over five years. Revenue was $5.16 billion in the whole of 2013.

Link to full report: r.reuters.com/nuk76v (Reporting by Sven Nordenstam and Olof Swahnberg; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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