Telenor Group claims ‘strong performance’ in 2020

2 Feb 2021

Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor Group has published its financial results for both the quarter and year ended 31 December 2020, with the company claiming a ‘strong performance in a challenging year’.

For the closing three months of 2020 Telenor Group reported a total turnover of NOK30.949 billion (USD3.6 billion), down from NOK31.737 billion, while on an organic basis, subscription and traffic revenues were down 3.4% year-on-year at NOK22.916 billion; the company cited a decline pre-paid revenue in Thailand and in post-paid revenue in Malaysia as being ‘the main drivers’ for lower revenue in the quarter. For the year ending 31 December 2020, meanwhile, Telenor Group reported total revenues of NOK122.811 billion, up from NOK113.666 billion, with subscription and traffic revenues standing at NOK93.439 billion, up from NOK85.954 billion. It noted, however, that the full year period had actually seen subscription and traffic revenues decline on an organic basis – by around 2% – due to lower revenues in Asia, combined with lower roaming revenues.

Telenor Group’s reported EBITDA for Q4 2020 was NOK13.512 billion, up marginally from NOK13.397 billion in the corresponding period a year earlier, while full year EBITDA totalled NOK56.520 billion (FY19: NOK50.735 billion). For FY20, Telenor Group noted that a 2% organic increase in EBITDA was attributable to ‘significant’ operating expenses reductions, which had protected profitability. Meanwhile, Telenor Group’s net profit stood at NOK7.689 billion in 4Q20, up significantly from NOK1.774 billion a year earlier, with the company pointing to increased operating profit, the sale of marketing technology company Tapad and the partial leaseback of its Norwegian headquarters building as factors. For full year 2020, net income increased to NOK17.341 billion, from NOK7.773 billion, with fourth quarter gains again pointed to as one the key elements behind the annualised increase.

Looking ahead, Telenor Group has said it expects organic subscription and traffic revenues to be ‘around 2020 level’ for the current financial year, with organic EBITDA also similarly forecast. Capital expenditures, excluding licences, are expected to be between 15% and 16% of sales.

In operational terms, meanwhile, Telenor Group reported a consolidated mobile subscriber base of 181.759 million as of 31 December 2020, down from 186.008 million a year earlier. Notable gains were reported in Bangladesh though, where Grameenphone’s customer base rose by more than 2.5 million to 79.037 million, and Pakistan, where accesses increased to 47.240 million, from 45.839 million. However, sizeable customer losses were reported for Myanmar, where the group’s unit shed more than six million subscribers in 2020 to lower its total to 16.243 million; the decline was linked to a SIM re-registration drive ordered by the local regulator.