VimpelCom impairment hits Telenor’s earnings in 2Q16

19 Jul 2016

Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor Group has reported a 3.4% year-on-year increase in revenues for the three months ended 30 June 2016, with turnover standing at NOK32.477 billion (USD3.93 billion), up from a re-presented figure of NOK31.406 billion for Q2 2015. Meanwhile, in the first half of its 2016 fiscal year revenues were up by more NOK2.6 billion at NOK65.940 billion, of which NOK1.8 billion was said to be due to positive currency effects, with lower handsets sales of NOK1.1 billion said to have been more than offset by the ‘significant positive contribution’ from the group’s operations in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.

EBITDA in the second quarter of 2016 totalled NOK11.545 billion, representing y-o-y growth of 7.9%, while in H1 2016 EBITDA before other items increased by NOK1.7 billion, or 8.1%, of which NOK500 million was due to positive currency effects. According to Telenor, the underlying EBITDA improvement was mainly driven by Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, with these subsidiaries ‘more than offsetting tougher market conditions in Malaysia and lower contribution from Norway’.

In line with a previously announced plan for Telenor Group to divest its shares in VimpelCom, the Norwegian outfit confirmed that, with the Russian company’s share price standing at USD3.88 as at 30 June 2016, it had recognised an impairment loss of NOK2.5 billion in Q2 2016. As a result, Telenor posted profit after taxes and non-controlling interests of NOK1.111 billion in the second quarter, down significantly from the NOK3.456 billion reported in the corresponding period of 2015.

Based on the performance in the first half of 2016 and the outlook for the second half, Telenor has revised its financial guidance for 2016; the company now expects organic revenue growth in the range of 1% to 2% and an improved EBITDA margin of around 35%, while the expectation for its CAPEX to sales ratio, excluding licences, has been lowered to around 17%.

In operational terms, meanwhile, Telenor Group’s mobile subscriber base reached 211.424 million as at end-June 2016, up from 207.976 million three months earlier and an increase of almost 11% against the 190.815 million reported at mid-2015.

Commenting on the group’s performance, Telenor Group Chief Executive Officer Sigve Brekke was cited as saying: ‘The organic EBITDA growth exceeded 6%, while revenues were impacted by low device sales. We have taken several initiatives to further strengthen our data position across our footprint, and we see encouraging signs of data monetisation in several of our markets. Digitising our core business, combined with efficiency measures, will be key to drive value creation going forward.’

Norway, Telenor Group