Nordic operators Telenor, TDC wobble amid growing competition

Long seen as among the star performers in Europe's telecoms market, including early forays into 3G and then LTE, even operators in the Nordic regions are feeling the pinch as competition bites.

Reuters reports that Telenor cut its guidance for 2013 because of weaknesses in its businesses in key Nordic markets such as Sweden and Norway. The Norwegian operator now expects revenues to rise just 1 to 2 per cent this year, below an earlier target for 2 to 4 per cent.

Nonetheless, analysts remain upbeat about the prospects of a group that has been among the top performing European telecom stocks in recent years

"Despite the weaker revenue guidance, the third-quarter result provides good evidence that Telenor is delivering EBITDA and cash flow growth well beyond its incumbent peer group," Nomura said, according to Reuters. Telenor's third-quarter EBITDA rose 9 percent to $1.61 billion (€1.2 billion).

At the same time, Denmark's TDC cut its sales outlook for the current financial year as competition caused prices to fall at its Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish units. The company recorded a 6 per cent decline in third-quarter revenue in the three countries, which Reuters noted reverses a long trend of growth.

"The competitive environment in the Nordic countries is worsening rapidly, and it is serious for TDC as its Nordic division has been seen as one of its few growth drivers," Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgard told Reuters.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article

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