* Q3 EBITDA NOK 14.6 bln vs forecast NOK 14.1 bln
* Expects 2020 EBITDA to rise vs earlier flat forecast
* Says cost cuts outweigh revenue decline
* Shares rise 3%
OSLO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Norway's Telenor raised
its full-year earnings guidance after beating third-quarter
expectations on Wednesday as cost cuts offset lower subscriber
and roaming revenue.
Shares in the telecoms provider, which late on Tuesday sold
its headquarters to free up capital, were 3% higher at 0805 GMT,
outperforming a 0.2% decline in Oslo's benchmark index.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) for the July-September quarter rose 4% to
14.6 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.58 billion), topping the 14.1
billion expected by analysts, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.
Telenor, active in nine countries across Europe and Asia,
said it expected underlying core earnings (EBITDA) to rise by a
low single digit percentage this year, compared with its
previous forecast of a flat year-on-year outcome.
The company's operations in Pakistan and Bangladesh saw
strong subscriber growth in the quarter, a turnaround from the
decline seen in the preceding three months when COVID-19
lockdowns prevented many from topping up pre-paid subscriptions.
"Telenor's third quarter results highlight the strength of
our operating model," Chief Executive Officer Sigve Brekke said.
The company cut operating costs by 8% in the quarter,
helping to cushion a 2% fall in its underlying subscriber and
"The very strong cost performance once again from Telenor is
driving the good quarter," JP Morgan wrote in a note to clients.
Overall revenue, including from acquired businesses, rose to
30.0 billion crowns from 28.4 billion a year ago, just missing
analyst expectations of 30.3 billion.
Telenor maintained a prediction for a low single-digit
percentage decline in annual subscription and traffic revenue,
as well as a forecast that capital expenditure would amount to
around 13% of sales for the full year.
The company's operations in Thailand took a hit from the
continued shortfall in tourism revenues, while increased
competition in Malaysia and a regulatory re-registration of SIM
cards for mobile phones in Myanmar impacted its overall
($1=9.2290 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Aditya Soni and Mark