Telenor Group matches analyst predictions for Q3 earnings

Telenor reported third-quarter earnings that were broadly in-line with guidance, despite a loss of domestic wholesale revenue and lower than expected EBITDA in Denmark, Jefferies analysts said.

In a statement emailed to FierceWireless:Europe, the investment bank noted that Telenor Group's third-quarter revenue of NOK31.8 billion (€3.3 billion/$3.7 billion) was bang on consensus estimates and marginally (0.3 per cent) above its own prediction. Group EBITDA of NOK11.8 billion was some 3.5 per cent above consensus, and beat Jefferies own forecast by 4.2 per cent, the analysts stated.

Despite the bullish analysis, Telenor Group slipped to a net loss of NOK1.7 billion during the third quarter, compared to a profit of NOK2.5 billion in the same period of 2014.

The operator's figures for the nine months to end-September are perhaps the source of Jefferies' confidence. Group profit grew from NOK29.1 billion in 2014 to NOK33.3 billion in the recent period, with revenue increasing from NOK81 billion in the opening three quarters of 2014 to NOK94.6 billion.

While Jefferies analysts noted that Telenor's Danish operation missed consensus, they explained that the result is unlikely to impact the operator "given the asset is under strategic review." That review is taking place after Telenor and TeliaSonera were forced to abandon plans to merge their Danish businesses during the third quarter.

Jefferies noted that Telenor's Norwegian earnings were "about in line" and that the operator enjoyed strong results in "Sweden, Eastern European operations, Myanmar, Broadcast and 'Other'".

Those strong performances "more than offset weak results from Thailand and Malaysia as already reported previously, and also India," the analysts said.

Sigve Brekke, Telenor Group president and CEO, described the operator's third-quarter results as "solid", pointing to the growth in revenues and EBITDA. He said almost "200 million people are using our services" and that the company is seeing "strong growth in data consumption across our markets."

Brekke added that is "of the utmost importance that we monetise this growth in order to secure healthy returns on our significant investments."

For more:
- see Telenor's earnings report (PDF)

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