Telenor Group booked increased profit for Q2 as deep cuts to operating expenses helped offset declines in earnings from prepaid-heavy markets in Asia and roaming revenue.

In a statement, president and CEO Sigve Brekke (pictured) said the company had suffered from a year-on-year service revenue decline of 4 per cent caused by Covid-19 (coronavirus) lockdown measures.

The largest issues were in its prepaid revenue in Asia, most notably Bangladesh and Pakistan, and a fall in roaming revenue across its operations first flagged by the company in Q1.

However, the executive pointed to strong performances in Norway and Finland and a 12 per cent cut in its operating expenses as factors bolstering its Q2 figures.

Brekke added its strategy of “growth, modernisation and responsible business” had allowed it to “manoeuvre in these demanding times”. The company plans to continue cost management measures to limit further Covid-19 effects.

Aside cuts already made as part of an overhaul of its business, Telenor reported decreased sales and marketing costs related to lockdown, and substantial declines in cash spent on consultancy and business travel.

During the quarter, Telenor took a provision of NOK1.2 billon ($128.6 million) to cover an EU fine for historical competition rule breaches, a decision the company plans to appeal.

It also noted positive year-on-year currency exchange movements on improving its bottom line.

Although service revenue fell, total Q2 revenue was up 15 per cent year-on-year to NOK31 billion, attributed to favourable foreign exchange movements and the inclusion of Finnish operator DNA in its figures. Net profit was NOK4.4 billion, up from NOK2.9 billion in Q2 2019.