For the Group, high energy prices, especially in Norway, Denmark, and Pakistan, continue to be a headwind. However, the negative effects are, this quarter, countered by a reversal of sim tax provision in Pakistan, leading to 2.5 percent EBITDA growth. Free cash flow came in at NOK 5 billion, implying a cash generation so far this year of NOK 10 billion.
In September, Telenor hosted a capital markets day where the strategy and ambitions for the next three years were presented. The Group’s operations and value creation will be focused around four business areas: Telenor Nordics, Telenor Asia, Telenor Infrastructure and Telenor Amp. The sale of a 30 percent stake in the newly established fibre infrastructure company in Norway, which is expected to close in early 2023 confirms the company’s execution on this strategy.
“In the Nordics, growth in value added services is contributing to mobile revenue growth. We see a continued trend of customers’ high demand for secure connectivity in a sharply increasing digital risk environment”, says Brekke.
Increased data usage was the main driver for Grameenphone’s 7 percent service revenue growth this quarter, which also translated into solid EBITDA growth. In Malaysia, the planned merger of Digi and Celcom received clearance from the Securities Commission, and is expected to be completed before year-end, following approval by the companies’ shareholder meetings.
With regards to the outlook for the year, Telenor maintains the expectation of low single digit growth in service revenues. Although a significant increase in energy prices is weighing on the EBITDA, a positive one-time effect in Pakistan this quarter supports maintaining the outlook of organic EBITDA around last year’s level. The capex to sales ratio is expected to be in the previously indicated range of 16-17 percent.