Telenor is raising the forecast for this year despite selling its Myanmar business 

Telenor ended a dramatic first half of the year with a sale of its business in Myanmar. The company still does not have the final calculation ready for the investment, but is raising the forecasts for the group’s development this year, E24 writes.

According to E24, Telenor released on 20 July the results for the second quarter and according to the key figures from InFront / TDN, the telecom’s turnover is just over NOK 1 billion lower than analyst’s expectations of NOK 28.30 billion. Telenor’s turnover without its Myanmar business ended at NOK 27.16 billion compared to NOK 28.98 billion at the same time last year.

According to director of finance Tone H. Bachke, a large part of the fall in earnings is due to a strengthening of the Norwegian krone since last year and although the results are somewhat weaker than expected and worse than the same period last year, Telenor now sees a brighter development for 2021 than last year.

After Telenor Myanmar withdrew from the group’s forecasts in the first quarter due to the uncertainty in the country in the wake of the military coup, the forecasts showed that approximately the same turnover and gross operating profit were expected in 2021 as in 2020, but now a slight growth is expected in some areas. For one, Telenor expects subscription and traffic revenues to increase between zero and one percent in 2021. Gross operating profit (EBITDA) is also expected to increase between zero and two percent. And finally, operating investments are expected to correspond to 15 to 16 percent of operating revenues – which are unchanged from the previous forecast. 

Moreover, CEO Sigve Brekke of Telenor explained in a statement in the quarterly report that the telecom giant can report growth in the second quarter driven by strong results in the Nordic region combined with an increase in data use and customer growth in the Asian markets.

He pointed out that the own (organic) growth in subscription and traffic revenues ended at two percent. Adding, “Combined with good operational control and continued good progress within the modernization of the company, this contributed to an organic growth in EBITDA of four percent.”

Overall, Telenor’s customer base has increased by 1.7 million to 170.3 million in total, compared with a decrease of 3.4 million to 158.9 million customers at the same time last year.

Grameenphone in Bangladesh in particular is driving customer growth with its 1.3 million new customers. Pakistan and Thailand contribute 300,000 and 200,000 respectively while losing 33,000 customers in Malaysia. However, this was offset by customer growth in the Nordic region of 37,000 (Telenor Norway lost 24,000).

“We have the ambition to serve the data revolution in the region and the demand for data contributes to the revenue development in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Domestic market development in Thailand stabilized sales, despite the effect of a third wave in the pandemic,” Sigve Brekke said.

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