Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor Group has published its financial results for the opening quarter of 2019, saying these had reaffirmed its ‘efforts and ability to attract new customers, create value and modernise [the company]’. With total reported revenues rising by 2% year-on-year to NOK27.7 billion (USD3.2 billion) for the quarter under review, Telenor Group revealed that subscription and traffic revenues remained stable on an organic basis, standing at NOK21.4 billion. However, excluding Thailand – where it said growth continued to be negative as the subscriber base further deteriorated ‘in a tough market environment’ – the group noted that organic subscription and traffic revenue growth was 1.4%.
EBITDA before other items was NOK11.2 billion, a 3.5% y-o-y drop in organic terms, but again Telenor Group highlighted the fact that, when excluding its Thai unit, organic EBITDA actually grew by 1.9%. Reported net income to equity holders of Telenor in the first quarter totalled NOK3.9 billion, representing an annualised drop NOK1.1 billion; the company said this decline was ‘primarily due to a decrease in net financial items, driven by higher net currency gains and gain on the financial derivative features of the VEON exchangeable bond in the first quarter last year, partly offset by the decrease in depreciations in Thailand following the end of the concession model’. Capital expenditures in the first quarter of 2019 amounted to NOK4.0 billion, up from NOK3.1 billion in the corresponding period a year earlier.
In operational terms, at the end of March 2019 Telenor Group had a total of 176.0 million mobile subscribers on its books, an increase of 3.5% against the 170.1 million it reported a year earlier. Group subsidiaries that posted notable subscriber gains included GrameenPhone in Bangladesh, which added more than 6.5 million accesses in the year to end-March 2019, and Telenor Pakistan, which grew its customer base by 1.6 million in the same timeframe. By comparison, DTAC in Thailand registered a 5% drop in customer numbers, bringing its base down to 20.7 million.