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Elisa Declines as Wireless Pricing Concerns Nordea

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Elisa Oyj, Finland’s largest wireless carrier by subscribers, fell the most in six weeks as Nordea Bank AB warned aggressive promotional offers may eat away at first-quarter margins.

Elisa fell as much as 2 percent, the biggest intraday drop since Feb. 7 and the largest decline among Finnish benchmark stocks, and lost 1.7 percent to 16.39 euros at 12:32 p.m. in Helsinki. Volume exceeded 460,000 shares, about 81 percent of the three-month daily average.

“We are increasingly concerned about the impact on Elisa of continued campaigning,” Sami Sarkamies, an analyst at Nordea in Helsinki, said today in a note. He downgraded his recommendation to sell from hold, lowering the 12-month price estimate to 15 euros from 17 euros. “Elisa’s soft third quarter and especially fourth quarter reports managed to raise eyebrows after several years of it performing like clockwork.”

Elisa’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization fell to 123.8 million euros ($160 million) in the fourth quarter from 129.7 million euros a year earlier, missing analysts’ estimates.

Promotions, including two-year mobile packages with the first year discounted by as much as 50 percent, have continued through January and February with some signs of easing during late March, Sarkamies said.

“While the market has remained healthy owing to a surging mobile broadband market, slowing subscriber growth could spark unhealthy competitive action,” Sarkamies said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kasper Viita in Helsinki at kviita1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at cwienberg@bloomberg.net

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