Telenor reports strong performance under a challenging year
The year 2020 was marked by the global pandemic. In this unprecedented situation, Telenor accelerated the digitalization, managed to safeguard employees and maintained critical connectivity to customers. For the full year, Telenor delivered an organic EBITDA growth of 2 percent and a solid free cash flow of NOK 21 billion.
In the fourth quarter, we continue to deliver a strong performance in the Nordics. In Norway growth in mobile and new fixed services more than offset a shortfall of roaming and copper legacy revenues. In Finland revenue and EBITDA are growing as a result of our customers’ demand for higher data speeds, including our new 5G offerings. In Asia, pressure on the top line remains due to intense competition and impact from the pandemic, in particular in Thailand and Malaysia. For the Group, subscription and traffic revenues decreased by 3 percent, however our flexibility to manage cost and investments levels resulted in stable EBITDA and improved cash flow.
Entering 2021, we will maintain focus on our strategic priorities; growth, modernisation and responsible business. In the coming months, all our markets and especially our Asian subsidiaries will still be impacted by the spread of COVID-19 and government responsive measures. For the full year 2021, we expect organic subscription and traffic revenues and Ebitda to remain around 2020 level. We foresee a capex to sales ratio of 15-16% percent. Based on 2020 performance, the Board of Directors propose a dividend of NOK 9.00 per share in line with our dividend policy.
Sigve Brekke, President and CEO, Telenor Group
Fourth quarter 2020 summary
The Group's mobile subscriber base grew by 1.5 million and was 182 million at the end of the quarter.
Subscription and traffic revenues decreased by 3% on an organic basis. Total reported revenues were NOK 30.9 billion, a decrease of NOK 0.8 billion or 2%. For the full year 2020, organic subscription and traffic revenues decreased by 2%.
Currency adjusted opex excluding DNA decreased by NOK 0.7 billion, or 7%. Reported opex decreased by NOK 0.5 billion. For the full year, currency adjusted operating expenses excluding DNA were reduced by NOK 2.6 billion, or 7%.
EBITDA remained stable on an organic basis, as the decline in subscription and traffic revenues was offset by the continued reduction in operating expenses. Reported EBITDA before other items was NOK 13.5 billion and the EBITDA margin was 44%. For the full year, organic EBITDA increased by 2% and the EBITDA margin was 46%.
Capex excluding licences, spectrum and leases was NOK 5.8 billion, yielding a capex to sales ratio of 19%. For the full year, the capex to sales ratio ended at 13%.
Reported net income was NOK 7.7 billion. The sale of Tapad contributed with a gain of NOK 2.1 billion and the sale and partial leaseback of the headquarter office building in Norway contributed with NOK 1.2 billion.
Free cash flow before M&A was NOK 2.0 billion in the fourth quarter and NOK 12.5 billion for the full year. Total free cash flow in 2020 was NOK 20.9 billion.
Leverage decreased to just below 2.0x at the end of the fourth quarter from 2.1x at the end of the previous quarter.
On 1 February 2021, the military of Myanmar declared a state of emergency. Telenor is concerned about the situation and will closely monitor the development.