By Supantha Mukherjee
STOCKHOLM - Ericsson said on Friday it is only providing software and technical support to Russian clients and has not sold any telecommunications equipment to mobile operators there since the Ukraine war started, after Swedish media reported the company had continued its exports.
Shares of the company fell 4.6% in morning trading.
Ericsson suspended its business in Russia in April and said in August that it would exit the country in the coming months. It recorded a charge of 900 million Swedish crowns ($81 million) and made 400 employees redundant in the country as it winds down operations.
"Compliant with the sanctions we provide the software and technical assistance for those products that we have shipped prior to the invasion making it possible to withdraw while fulfilling contractual obligations," a spokesman said.
"When the sanctions were announced we stopped shipments to customers in Russia," he said.
Rival Nokia, which has also announced plans to exit Russia before the end of the year, had said it does limited maintenance of critical networks to fulfill its contractual and humanitarian obligations.
Sveriges Radio Ekot reported that Ericsson had applied for 12 permits for exemptions from sanctions from Sweden's Inspectorate of Strategic Products and was granted seven.
The sanctions list by the Swedish authority include software and technology linked to telecommunications. It did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ericsson said the permits were for software and technical assistance.
"Even though mobile telephony is for civil use an export license is required mainly because of the advanced encryption technology that is embedded in our products, and this is to applicable for all countries," he said.
"Ericsson's products are designed for civil use, not military."
($1 = 11.1164 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Toby Chopra)