* Cuts 2015 profit outlook as Kazakhstan weighs
* Repeats dividend target of at least 3 SEK/share for 2015
* Q3 EBITDA 9.7 bln SEK vs mean f‘cast 9.5 bln in Reuters poll (Adds statement on financial reporting, detail, background)
STOCKHOLM, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Swedish telecom operator TeliaSonera cut its profit outlook for 2015 on Tuesday and responded in more detail to criticism over its disclosure record as it posted third-quarter core earnings slightly above expectations.
Citing price competition in Kazakhstan, the biggest among the Central Asian markets Telia has said it wants to exit, the firm said it now expected 2015 core profit for the group slightly below the 2014 level on a like-for-like basis.
TeliaSonera, whose previous outlook was for core earnings around the same level as last year, also repeated its dividend target of at least 3 crowns per share for 2015.
TeliaSonera came under renewed pressure last week over past deals in some Asian countries as U.S.-based investment research firm Muddy Waters issued an open letter to its board, saying it believed information was being withheld from investors and that it had taken a short position in TeliaSonera securities.
TeliaSonera rejected what it called “serious criticism” from Muddy Waters, saying it did not recognise its conclusions.
In a separate statement, TeliaSonera on Tuesday said its auditors, Deloitte, had reviewed its reports and found no cause to believe that its 2014 and 2015 financial reports should have been presented in a different way.
To read the statement, click on:
The company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), excluding non-recurring items, were 9.7 billion Swedish crowns ($1.17 billion) in the third quarter versus a year-ago 9.4 billion and a mean forecast of 9.5 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts.
In Kazakhstan, like-for-like sales dropped by 13 percent in the quarter.
Link to report: ($1 = 8.3044 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Sven Nordenstam and Olof Swahnberg, editing by Johannes Hellstrom)