Telenor Q3 profit slips despite revenue rise

Telenor's net profit slipped in the third quarter even though the company generated what it described as "all-time high" revenues, increased EBITDA and cut capex compared to the same period of 2013.

Jon-Fredrik Baksaas, Telenor president and CEO

Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Telenor president and CEO

The Norway-headquartered operator turned a profit of NOK2.5 billion (€295 million/$375 million) in the recent quarter compared to NOK3.9 billion in the third quarter of 2013, despite growing revenue by nearly NOK2 billion annually, and extending EBITDA from NOK9.6 billion in the third quarter of 2013 to NOK10.2 billion.

Net profit for the nine months to end-September fell from NOK10.7 billion in 2013 to NOK8.5 billion in the recent period. Revenues rose NOK4.5 billion year-on-year to NOK81 billion, and EBITDA increased from NOK26.8 billion to NOK29.1 billion in 2014.

Telenor's businesses in Norway and Sweden increased their operating profits year-on-year in the third quarter, but the figure fell at the operator's units in Denmark, Hungary, and Montenegro and Serbia. In Bulgaria, the company slipped to an operating loss in the recent quarter from a profit in the third quarter of 2013.

Asia Pacific operations yielded similar results, with operating profits up in Malaysia and Pakistan, and down slightly in Thailand and Bangladesh. An operating loss in India widened in the recent period.

Telenor also recorded an operating loss on its new Myanmar operation, which opened for business in September. Jon Fredrik Baksaas, president and CEO of Telenor Group, said it had signed up a million customers in the country by Oct. 25.

While Baksaas noted that many of the group's 3.4 million mobile net additions during the quarter came from its Asia Pacific operations, he added that it also enjoyed strong demand for LTE services in Norway that "resulted in robust revenue growth in the quarter."

The CEO added that 29 per cent of Telenor Group's 180 million global subscribers "are currently active internet users." Baksaas pledged to continue "with our relentless efforts to drive profitable growth from increased internet consumption."

Jefferies International analysts said Telenor produced a "solid showing" during the quarter, with only India showing a "material EBITDA shortfall versus expectations."

Group revenue of NOK27.6 billion in the recent quarter was 1.7 per cent higher than consensus forecasts, Jefferies added.

For more:
- see Telenor's earnings statement [PDF]

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