In the first quarter Telenor focused strongly on improving operating margins through the rationalisation of operations. The group significantly improved margins and reduced operational investments (capex) in both mobile and fixed telephony in Norway. The international mobile operations are still experiencing strong growth. Telenor has 9.3 million mobile subscribers at the end of the first quarter when the relative share in the companies where we have ownership interests is taken into account. Business Solutions is undergoing a turnaround that is starting to show results, while the higher demand for ADSL has involved costs that has affected results in Plus.
Excluding gains, revenues increased by NOK 1.821 billion in the first quarter, to NOK 11.518 billion. This is an increase of 19 per cent compared to the same period last year. EBITDA was NOK 2.926 billion, excluding gains and losses, at the end of the first quarter. This represents a growth of 27.6 per cent, or NOK 633 million compared to the first quarter last year.
"Telenor made a conscious effort in the first quarter to improve its margins, which has contributed to good earnings growth. The group now has considerable international mobile operations with solid underlying growth. Telenor is now the largest mobile operator based in the Nordic region, and the group has a total of 9.3 million mobile subscribers internationally when our relative share in the companies where we have ownership interests is taken into account," said Telenor CEO Tormod Hermansen.
Telenor's balance is strong with an equity ratio of 49.4 per cent. Net interest bearing liabilities has increased by NOK 11.3 billion since the end of the year to NOK 24.4 billion, primarily as a result of the acquisition of the Hungarian mobile company Pannon GSM and the American satellite company COMSAT. Capex totalled NOK 1.9 billion in the first quarter, which is a reduction of NOK 0.5 billion compared to the same period last year.
Telenor will continue its efforts this year to focus more strongly on its core activities and the implementation of various measures to improve its cost-efficiency. The group expects continued good revenue growth due to an overall positive underlying development in the existing activities, including acquired businesses.
The quarterly report and presentations used during the press conference will be available at www.telenor.comTelenor:
Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Telenor is an international provider of high quality telecommunications, data and media communication services. Telenor is one of Norway's largest companies with a turn-over of approx. NOK 46 billion and a work-force of 21,000 man-years domestically and abroad in 2001. Telenor is listed at the Oslo Stock Exchange (TEL) and Nasdaq in New York (TELN).