January 31, 2018 / 6:41 AM / a year ago

Telenor Q4 net lags forecast, sees lower growth in 2018

OSLO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor posted fourth-quarter net results below forecast on Wednesday and said revenue and earnings growth would likely slow in 2018 from the previous year.

Norway’s second largest company, with 178 million customers in 12 countries across Europe and Asia, has seen its share price rise 38 percent in the last year after boosting profits, raising its dividend and buying back shares.

“We enter 2018 with clear priorities to deliver on our digital transformation agenda, to continue to seek efficiency gains and revenue growth, while simplifying our portfolio and way of work,” Chief Executive Sigve Brekke said in a statement.

Organic growth for 2018 was seen at 1-2 percent, against 2 percent achieved in 2017, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation was seen expanding by 1-3 percent, down from 9 percent.

The company posted a net fourth quarter result attributable to shareholders of 2.2 billion Norwegian crowns ($285.76 million), or 2.6 billion crowns when adjusted for writedowns and reversals of earlier impairments, while analysts in a Reuters poll had expected a profit of 3.43 billion.

The quarterly profit before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and other items (adjusted EBITDA) was 11.8 billion Norwegian crowns, while analysts in a Reuters poll had expected a profit of 11.9 billion. ($1 = 7.6989 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Ole Petter Skonnord)

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