Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke hailed the “robustness of our Norwegian operation”, as well as margin expansion across the operator’s business units, following a strong set of Q2 results.

In a statement, Brekke said the company had taken several steps during the first six months of the year to execute on its strategic ambitions towards 2020, announced in February, with a focus on improving efficiency and simplifying the business.

During the recent quarter, Telenor’s revenue hit NOK31.5 billion ($3.84 billion), a 2 per cent increase from NOK30.9 billion in Q2 2016.

However, the company reported a net loss of NOK167 million compared with a profit NOK1.1 billion in Q2 2016, relating to a loss on the sale of shares in Veon and a writedown of its currency exposure on the operator.

Net income did hit NOK3.9 billion, if based on the sale of online classified assets in Latin America and adjusted for the effects related to Veon, added the company.

Telenor is currently in the process of selling its stake in Veon.

It is also selling its operations in India to Bharti Airtel and the unit is currently classified as a discontinued operation.

Asia driving growth
The largest contributor to revenue growth, meanwhile, was the company’s operation in Bangladesh, where there was both strong subscriber growth and ARPU uplift.

Telenor said it generated revenue growth from fixed broadband in Sweden and Norway, while customer growth in Pakistan and Myanmar also contributed positively. Brekke added the company was also able to reduce costs by NOK600 million, mainly in Norway.

“With rapid changes in customer behaviour and technology advances continued cost reductions will be necessary in the coming years,” added Brekke.

Off the back of the strong quarter, the company lifted its 2017 EBITDA margin guidance from around 37 per cent to a range of 38 per cent to 39 per cent. The figure rose to NOK12.7 billion in Q2 2017, from NOK11.4 billion in the 2016 period.

The company ended Q2 with a total mobile subscriber base of 174 million, up 2 million from the 2016 period.

Bangladesh and Pakistan accounted for the bulk of the growth, with 1.7 million and 0.7 million subscriber additions respectively. This was offset by a loss of 0.7 million subscribers in Thailand.

Along with the Q2 results, Telenor also launched a buyback programme for up to 2 per cent of its shares, representing 30 million shares in total.