Telenor Group president and CEO Sigve Brekke (pictured) suggested the company is on an even keel, with subscriber growth and an efficiency programme maintaining a steady balance sheet in the opening six months of the year.
In an earnings statement, Brekke highlighted customer growth in key developing markets including Pakistan and Bangladesh, along with a second consecutive quarter of revenue growth in Malaysia during Q2 as key drivers of a “solid performance”.
During the second quarter alone, the company added 2 million mobile subscribers, taking its total to 172 million at end-June. Brekke said the group also enjoyed “robust operations in Scandinavia, particularly in the mobile market in Norway” during the period.
Brekke appeared to shrug off concerns surrounding its dtac unit in Thailand, which faces a capacity crunch as the end of a concession to access spectrum held by state-owned CAT Telecom draws near. Telenor Group is “transforming the business and building a solid platform for the future,” he asserted.
In a presentation, Telenor noted dtac has various agreements and initiatives in place to ensure continuity of service. The unit is also gearing up for an auction of 900MHz spectrum in mid-August (in which it is likely to be the sole bidder).
Brekke said the group continues to execute a strategy of “simplification and increasing efficiency, while maintaining market positions”, an approach which reduced OPEX by almost NOK1 billion ($123.6 million) in the opening six months.
“These efforts are delivering good results, with savings now of a more structural nature,” the CEO said.
Revenue in Q2 fell from NOK28.3 billion in 2017 to NOK27.4 billion, though the company overturned a net loss attributable to shareholders of NOK167 million with income of NOK2.6 billion in the recent quarter.
First half revenue declined from NOK55.9 billion in 2017 to NOK54.6 billion at end-June, with net income up from NOK4 billion to NOK7.6 billion.