%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Swedish telecommunications group Telia reported Thursday that second-quarter net profit plummeted 88 percent from the same period last year, though sales slightly increased.

Earnings were 30 million kronor ($3.2 million) in the three months ending June 30, down from 250 million kronor a year earlier.

Sales rose 0.7 percent to 14.3 billion kronor ($1.50 billion) from 14.2 billion kronor in 2001.

Telia shares closed up 22 percent at 27.10 kronor ($2.9 billion) on the Stockholm stock exchange.

Chief executive Anders Igel said mobile phone usage increased in all Nordic markets, boosting sales in that unit by 10 percent to 5.42 billion kronor ($571 million).

Sales in the international carrier unit rose 18 percent to 1.3 billion kronor ($137 million), but Igel said the earnings trend was unsatisfactory and ``a comprehensive review'' was under way to improve cash flow.

Telia stated restructuring efforts were starting to pay off. The former state company that was partially privatized in June 2000 had 16,561 employees on June 30, compared with 24,979 last year.

Its merger with Finnish operator Sonera was approved by the European Union on July 10. ``We can now proceed with the preparatory work in earnest,'' Igel said.