Telenor Group records organic revenue decline in 3Q20, but highlights EBITDA growth on opex reductions

21 Oct 2020

Despite recording a 2% year-on-year organic decline in subscription and traffic revenues in Q3 2020, which it attributed to ‘continued roaming shortfall and lower sales in Asia’, Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor Group said this had been ‘more than compensated’ for by reduced operating expenses, which resulted in EBITDA growth for the period under review.

In the three months ended 30 September 2020 Telenor recorded a total turnover of NOK30.005 billion (USD3.23 billion), up 6% from NOK28.424 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, driven by currency effects of NOK800 million, as well as the consolidation of DNA. As such, the group noted that in organic terms revenues for the quarter were actually down 2.3% against 3Q19. Similarly, subscription and traffic revenues for 3Q20 totalled NOK22.903 billion, an improvement against the NOK21.724 billion reported a year earlier, but when considered in organic terms declined by 2.3%.

More positively, EBTIDA before income and other expenses stood at NOK14.571 billion, up 3.6% from NOK13.132 billion, with Telenor noting that opex reductions in all business units and corporate functions were the main driver behind the EBITDA growth in the quarter. Meanwhile, it also highlighted ‘continued strong performance in Norway’ as contributing significantly to group EBITDA growth. Reported net income to equity holders in the third quarter was NOK4.5 billion, compared to the net loss of NOK679 million in Q3 2019.

With regards to operational statistics, Telenor Group ended September 2020 with a total of 180.3 million mobile accesses on its books, down from 183.4 million a year earlier. In terms of noteworthy developments, the carrier pointed to the fact that Bangladesh’s Grameenphone had ended the month with an all-time high subscriber base of 77.6 million, having added more than three million customers in the third quarter alone. Telenor Pakistan also reported ‘substantial’ growth, having increased its customer base by more than 1.1 million in 3Q20. However, Telenor Group noted that such gains had been effectively wiped out by the loss of nearly 6.3 million subscriptions in Myanmar due to the country’s SIM registration process.