Telenor Q3 revenues climb on improved showing in India

The Norwegian entity said it added four million new customers in India in the three months ended September and raked in a revenue of 214 million kronor.

"Revenues (from India) in local more than doubled from last quarter due to higher subscription base and increased ARPU (Average Revenue Per User)," Telenor said in a statement.

However, Telenor's global profits nosedived by 51 per cent to 1.69 billion kronor in the quarter under review, in comparison to a profit of 3.48 billion kronor on a revenue of 22.76 billion kronor in the year-ago period.

Telenor President and CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas said the group delivered another strong quarter and its consolidated operations added seven million new mobile subscriptions during this period.

"I am pleased to see promising development for Uninor in India this quarter with strong growth in subscriptions and increased average revenue per user... Going forward, we will continue our efforts to increase revenues and improve business processes," Baksaas noted.
In India, Telenor is present through a joint venture with Unitech called 'Uninor', in which the company holds a 67.25 per cent stake.

Uninor MD Sigve Brekke said he is encouraged by the performance in the September quarter.

"Our dynamic pricing plan, that offers up to 60 per cent on calls, is attracting customers to try our service and increasingly uses (Uninor) as their primary SIM," he said.

Uninor's total subscriptions touched 7.9 million in the three months ended September. However, Telenor's total revenue growth was impacted by reduced international roaming fees, lower growth in handset revenues and increased competitive pressure.

In the September quarter, EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) declined by 1.69 billion kronor compared to last year due to the negative contribution from Uninor, which was partly offset by the improved performance of Telenor's established Asian operations.

On the back of the improved operations performance, Telenor raised its organic revenue growth estimate for 2010 to 5 per cent. Earlier, the company had pegged the same at 3-5 per cent. The EBITDA margin for this year is expected to be 30 to 31 per cent.

Telenor noted that it expects, "Uninor will contribute with an EBITDA loss of around 4.5 billion kronor and capital expenditure in the range of 1.5–2 billion kronor."

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