Spanish telecom group Telefonica today posted a 9% drop in net profits for the first nine months of the year, hit by a weak home market and declining Latin American currencies.

The company - which this week reached a deal to sell its Czech unit, paid its first dividend in 18 months and opened the door to raising its investment in Telecom Italia  said net profit reached €3.145 billion.

This compares to a Reuters poll for €2.997 billion.

Revenues also fell 8.4% to €42.626 billion, while operating income before depreciation and amortisation was down 10.7% to €14.1 billion.

Telefonica said there were signs of stabilisation of the European market in the third quarter and that its strategy of focusing on cutting one of the highest debt loads among major European companies by selling non-core assets in Europe and Latin America would soon pay off.

The group said net debt stood at €46 billion euros at the end of September, meeting the company's year-end target of a debt below €47 billion three months ahead of time.

It also reiterated its guidance for revenue growth, improved operating margins, stable sales and investments and a 75 cent dividend for 2013.