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Norway’s Telenor warns on 2020 revenue, profit in face of pandemic

Norway’s Telenor on Tuesday warned that 2020 revenue and earnings will fall short of its outlook as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc, while posting first-quarter operating profit slightly ahead of forecasts.

The telecom company’s January-March earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (adjusted EBITDA) rose 13.7% year-on-year to 14.1 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.34 billion), while analysts in a Refinitiv poll on average expected a profit of 13.81 billion crowns.

“From the latter part of March, we have started to see impact from the global spread of COVID-19 on our performance, as we are experiencing lockdown situations in many of our markets,” Chief Executive Sigve Brekke said in a statement.

“This is in particular affecting roaming revenues and Asian prepaid markets,” Brekke said, adding that this might continue into the second quarter.

Telenor had previously predicted its annual underlying earnings would grow by 2%-4% after last year’s decline and that organic revenue was set to expand by up to 2%, more than the 0.4% growth in 2019.

The company said it will strengthen its focus on cash flow management, costs and investment levels, but did not provide much details on its outlook for new sales or profit.

―Business World

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