* Q4 EBITDA 124 mln euros, against 131 mln euro forecast
* Shares fall 5 pct
(Recasts with outlook, adds share move)
HELSINKI Feb 6 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
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)