Norway based, Telenor Group has reported a slide in fourth-quarter profits to NOK 2.21 billion (US$330 million), from NOK 7.63 billion (US$1.13 billion) a year earlier. The decline was due to one-off gains in 2007 no longer appearing on the accounts. Sales rose 11 percent to NOK 26.36 billion (US$3.393 billion).
“The overall trends seen in the third quarter continued into the fourth quarter with stable organic revenue growth combined with strong margins in several operations, particularly in Serbia and Bangladesh as well as a rebound in Pakistan. During the quarter, our operations added 5.5 million mobile subscriptions, reaching a total of 164 million,” said President and CEO of Telenor, Jon Fredrik Baksaas.
The capex level in the quarter was high, mainly due to completion of major projects and network roll-out in Asia, as well as investments in the Nordic region related to successful market uptake of mobile broadband. The telecom sector has so far been less affected by the global economic slowdown than other industries; however we expect a more challenging business environment going forward. As a result, the focus in 2009 will be on cost efficiency and capex control,” Baksaas said.
President re-confirmed that Telenor’s investment in India would be paid through debt and reserves, first of its kind practice by Telenor.
Telenor’s performance in Pakistan is seen positive, with a slight increase in ARPU that remained Rs. 228 compared to Rs. 214 in last quarter.
Pakistan in total added 916,000 subscribers during the quarter, while the estimated subscription market share remained stable at 21%. Total revenues increased by 20% mainly due to a subscription growth of approximately 5 million during 2008.
Telenor Pakistan’s Capital expenditure increased due to high investments in network quality and capacity. Large network roll-out deliveries were completed during the fourth quarter.
Detailed Financial Report of Telenor Group is available here