Norway’s Telenor posted higher-than-expected fourth-quarter operating profits on Wednesday and said it expects its underlying earnings to rise in 2020 after last year’s decline.
The company’s October-December profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (adjusted EBITDA) rose 17 per cent year-on-year to 11.88 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.33 billion), while analysts on average had expected profits of 11.68 billion.
“Entering 2020, we will continue to focus on growth, efficiency and simplification,” Telenor said in a statement.
The company’s fourth-quarter revenue also exceeded expectations, brokers DNB Markets wrote in a note to clients. “We expect the shares to open higher,” said DNB, which holds a buy recommendation on the stock.
Organic revenue, which excludes effects of mergers and acquisitions, is expected to grow by up to 2 per cent in 2020 from a 0.4 per cent increase in 2019, Telenor said, while organic EBITDA will swing to growth of 2 per cent-4 per cent from a decline of 2.2 per cent last year. Norway’s second-largest company, which has 186 million customers in nine countries across Europe and Asia, raised its full-year dividend to 8.7 crowns per share from 8.4 crowns, slightly below analysts’ average forecast for 8.8 crowns.