In the quarter where Telenor group had tied up with Lakshdeep Investments & Finance to create a new joint venture Telewings Communications, the group had reported total India revenues of NOK 810 million (around Rs 7.96 billion), up 13.5% from NOK 863 million (Rs 8.48 billion) sequentially but down 13.46% from NOK 936 million (Rs 9.2 billion) revenues in the corresponding quarter last year. Here are some notes from Uninor’s earnings conference call:
– Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas said that 2012 was quite a roller coaster year for the company in terms of licenses. During the quarter, the company has reached an important milestone in securing continuation of its operations in India. In October, Telenor reached a settlement with its previous partner Unitech and found a new partner to continue its Indian operations.
– 2G Spectrum Auction: In November 2012, the new joint venture Telewings Communications participated in the 2G spectrum auction and secured 24 blocks of spectrum in 6 of its best performing circles including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP East and UP West, for a total of Rs 4,018.28 crore, of which one-third was paid up-front. Baksaas noted that these six circles account for 600 million people in India and they expect the penetration to reach 40% in these regions.
– Restructuring Indian Operations: Baksaas mentioned that the restructuring process is going as expected. Telenor has downscaled operations in four circles (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Orissa) already and in December 2012, it gave service termination notices to subscribers in Kolkata and West Bengal due to lack of new spectrum. The company has shut down its operations in Kolkata, West Bengal and Mumbai circles from Saturday midnight (Feb 16th midnight), according to a The Hindu Business Line report.
Telenor is currently preparing for the business transfer of assets from Unitech Wireless to Telewings, which is expected to happen once Telewings receives its unified license and can start its operations in the country. For this, Telenor is currently awaiting the last leg of the additional spectrum auctions which is expected to happen in March 2013.
– Gujarat breaks even, Maharashtra to break even shortly: With revenues picking up in the six circles, Baksaas mentioned that Telenor is making steady progress towards the targeted cash flow breakeven by end of 2013. UP East circle reached EBITDA break even in November 2012 and Gujarat reached EBITDA break even in January 2013, with Maharashtra expected to break even shortly. He also added that the company is currently staying well within the INR 155 billion peak funding.
– 2013 Goals: Telenor’s main target for 2013 is to reach cash flow break even in India within the INR 155 billion peak funding. Telenor CFO Richard Olav Aa stated that this target is within reach due to the company’s mindset and attitude in India, however they are very dependent on the license refund promised by the Indian authorities.
– Uninor Q4 2012: ARPU Rs 95; Total Revenue Up 13.5% To NOK 810 Million
– Telenor Q3-2012 Concall: Looking For Direct Switchover From Unitech; 2G Auction Participation Not Confirmed
– Uninor Q2-2012 Concall: On Restructuring Operations; 2G Auctions; Scaling Down Ops