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Telenor sees margins improving after tough Q4US-TELENOR-RESULTS:Telenor sees margins improving after tough Q4
OSLO (Reuters) - Mobile telecoms firm Telenor expects steady growth and improving margins in 2013, after its fourth-quarter profit missed forecasts and it made an unexpected impairment charge on its Danish operations.
Telenor, which has around 150 million customers in Europe and Asia, expects organic revenue growth of 3 to 5 percent this year after last year's 5 percent, and it sees its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margin widening to 34 percent from 32 percent, it said on Wednesday.
The firm also plans to increase capital spending after concluding a license agreement in India, which ended almost a year of uncertainty and raised the prospect that it would have to exit one of the world's biggest markets.
"We now see the opportunity to accelerate investments to capture market positions and expect capex/sales in the range of 12-14 percent (up from 12 percent in 2012)," Chief Executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas said.
Telenor's fourth quarter missed expectations and included a nasty surprise of a 4 billion Norwegian crown ($729 million) charge related to its Danish operations.
The company said the Danish market is more competitive than it expected, leading to price wars among telecom firms and shrinking margins, which forced it to lower its future profit expectations for the unit.
Excluding the charge, its adjusted operating profit rose to 4.498 billion crowns from 3.533 billion a year earlier, still missing analysts' expectation for 4.597 billion crowns.
($1 = 5.4872 Norwegian krones)
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)
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