Telenor lowers 2013 revenue guidance on sluggish Nordics

Mobile phone operator Telenor lowered its 2013 revenue guidance on Thursday on weak figures in its key Danish and Norwegian markets but kept its profit margin outlook and increased its investment forecast.

Reuters| Last Updated: Oct 31, 2013, 13:52 PM IST

Oslo: Mobile phone operator Telenor lowered its 2013 revenue guidance on Thursday on weak figures in its key Danish and Norwegian markets but kept its profit margin outlook and increased its investment forecast.

Norway-based Telenor, which has around a 150 million subscribers across Europe and Asia, said its third quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 9 percent to 9.62 billion crowns, a touch ahead of forecasts for 9.54 billion crowns.

"The revenue development in Norway is weaker than expected," Chief Executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas said. "In order to secure healthy returns on our high network investments, we need to further optimise data centric offers to stimulate demand for mobile data."

For the full year, the firm now sees organic revenue growth of 1 to 2 percent, below earlier guidance for 2 to 4 percent. However, it still sees its EBITDA margin at 34 percent and lifted its capital expenditure forecast to 13-14 percent of revenue from 12-14 percent.

Telenor has been among the top performing European telecom stocks in recent years as it focuses on the relatively healthy economies of the Nordics and southeast Asia, and managed to migrate customers in some key markets to more lucrative data traffic from voice.

The stock trades a 2013 enterprise value to EBITDA ratio of around 7, well ahead of European peers` 5.2, according to Thomson Reuters data. The stock is up 17 percent over the past three months, in line with the gains by the European telecom index, and it is up 36 percent over the past year.