Asia Helps Telenor to 7 % Growth in Q1

Norwegian telecom operator Telenor announced Wednesday that first quarter revenue grew 7.8 percent, led by strong gains in its subscriber base in India and Asia, while increased competition hurt gains in the Nordics.

CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas said Telenor Group added 9 million subscribers over the quarter, with 5.2 million in India.

Growth in the four other Eastern markets — Malaysia, Thailand Pakistan and Bangladesh,  — was a robust 13 percent, in line with annual growth over the previous two quarters, Baksaas said.

“We really see now that the four established Asian operations are contributing a lot more to the cash flow than the Nordics,” CFO Richard Olav Aa told a press conference.

Quarterly revenues for Telenor were down 4.1 percent in Norway and 3.6 percent in Denmark compared to a year ago due to higher costs and increased competition, though the group’s Swedish operations saw a 9.6 percent gain.

Overall, group revenues for the quarter amounted to 24.1 billion kroner ($4.5 billion), while core earnings were up 4.7 percent to 7.4 billion kroner.

Telenor says it is maintaining its outlook for 2011 based on the first quarter data.

Shares in Telenor rose 0.8 percent to 90.05 kroner ($17.1) in mid-day trading in Oslo.

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