Telenor saw a sharp fall in its first quarter profits following a writedown of its stake in Indian mobile operator Uninor. The Norwegian company has excluded Uninor from its guidance for 2012 due to the uncertainty of the situation, it said.
Telenor saw its quarterly profits after taxes and non-controlling interests fall to NOK583 million (US$101 million) from NOK2.79 billion in the same period in 2011. Group revenues grew to NOK25.1 billion in Q1 2012 compared to NOK24.1 the previous year. Telenor announced its NOK3.9 billion Indian writedown at the end of April, having earlier announced a charge of NOK4.1 billion relating to the stake in Uninor.
The company’s EBITDA before other income and expenses (such as the Uninor business) saw a growth to NOK7.74 billion from NOK7.36 billion, alongside its revenue growth. The company pointed to a strong performance by Telenor Pakistan and in its home market where it says it is seeing a benefit from the migration to bundled mobile tariffs. However, the company said that its acquisition of shares in Russia’s VimpelCom from Weather Investments in February has been challenged by the country’s antitrust authorities.
The Indian writedown followed a decision by the Indian Supreme Court to cancel Telenor’s mobile licences earlier this year – along with the licences of many of its competitors – and recent recommendations by the country’s regulator.