Norway’s Telenor Group has heralded a ‘promising start’ to 2018 at the publication of its financial results for the first quarter of the year, despite reporting that revenues in the three months ended 31 March 2018 fell to NOK27.113 billion (USD3.45 billion), down from NOK27.596 billion in the corresponding period a year ago. Meanwhile, subscription and traffic revenues totalled NOK21.157 billion in the quarter under review, down marginally from NOK21.177 million in 1Q17; notably, Telenor said that on an organic basis subscription and traffic revenues actually climbed by 1.0% year-on-year. EBITDA in Q1 2018 totalled NOK11.309 billion, up from NOK10.504 billion, with net income standing at NOK4.987 billion, up from NOK4.168 billion. Capital expenditures in the opening quarter of the year were NOK11.3 billion, down almost 30% y-o-y from NOK15.9 billion.
With regards to its expectations for the current fiscal year, Telenor said it expects an organic subscription and traffic revenue growth of between 1% and 2%, and an organic EBITDA growth of between 2% and 3%. Capex excluding licences and spectrum has been adjusted for the discontinuation of the group’s Central and Eastern European operations and is now expected to be between NOK17 billion and NOK18 billion.
In operational terms, Telenor reported a consolidated mobile subscriber base of 170.056 million for the end of March 2018, up from 162.307 million a year earlier, and representing net adds of just under two million in the opening quarter of the year. Notable gains were made in Bangladesh (up 2.128 million) and Pakistan (up 1.022 million), but with Malaysia’s DiGi the only other unit to report customer growth in 1Q18, these gains were partially offset by net customers losses in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Thailand and Myanmar.
Commenting on the company’s performance, Telenor Group president and CEO Sigve Brekke said: ‘Entering 2018, I am pleased to see that we continue to grow and renew ourselves. We added close to two million customers in the first quarter; subscription and traffic revenues increased by 1% and EBITDA grew by 10%. Our digital transformation and focused efforts on efficiency improvements continue to deliver significant results. The performance in Scandinavia was robust, and we continue to see improving trends in developed Asia. After a soft start to the year in Bangladesh and Pakistan, growth picked up during the quarter and we expect revenue growth in those markets to improve going forward.’