April 26, 2017 / 5:52 AM / 4 months ago

Telia sees lower cost for Uzbek settlement

STOCKHOLM, April 26 (Reuters) - Nordic telecom operator Telia Company on Wednesday scaled back its cost estimate for a looming settlement related to its entry into Uzbekistan in 2007 as it reported first-quarter core earnings in line with expectations.

Telia said it now saw a likely settlement related to its Uzbek business costing the Swedish company $1.0 billion, down from a previous estimate of $1.45 billion.

The firm also said it had reached a new agreement to sell its 60 percent stake in Tajik operator Tcell to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, a further step in a planned exit from its troubled Central Asian business.

The company's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 6.1 billion Swedish crowns ($702 million) excluding non-recurring items, down from 6.2 billion a year ago, and in line with a mean forecast in a Reuters poll.

Telia stuck to its 2017 forecast of a free cash flow above 7 billion crowns and an operating profit (EBITDA) and dividends around the level of 2016. ($1 = 8.7618 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Olof Swahnberg; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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