Friday, February 16, 2007

TeleBusillis: Telenor: Short of the Century

"There are so many adjustments going on in the Telenor accounts, I feel as if you need a PhD in Crystal Ball reading to understand the underlying performance of the business.

Here are some low points from the results:

The rollout of HDTV seems to have destroyed earnings in the broadcast division, I don’t know enough about the Scandinavian TV market to say whether this is just a blip or a longer term problem.
Telenor Sweden is going nowhere and margins in Q4 actually fell on marginal net adds. This business just does not have the market share (17%) to compete. If operating losses continue through 2007, a write-down on the carrying value must be expected. Time might prove Vodafone correct in selling out.
Pakistan looks great with revenues up 45% and market share to 14%, but operating losses have remained at around US$125m. Unfortunately for Telenor and not discussed at all in the conference call was the fact that China Mobile are coming having just bought Paktel (Market share 4%). China Mobile is known for vicious price wars - I expect a bloodbath in the second half of 2007."

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