.

Telenor reported a small drop in fourth-quarter results, hurt by weakness in Thailand and Myanmar, while meeting its full-year outlook for stable underlying revenues and a 3 percent rise in EBITDA. The company forecast a similar performance in 2019 and raised its dividend by 4 percent, according Telecompaper. Quarterly revenues fell 1.8 percent on a reported basis to NOK 28.17 billion, and organic subscription and traffic revenues declined by 0.7 percent to NOK 21.26 billion. Over the full year, revenue fell 1.5 percent to NOK 110.4 billion, and organic subscription and traffic revenue growth was down 0.2 percent, in line with the reduced outlook issued at the Q3 report. 
 
EBITDA fell 4.4 percent to NOK 10.34 billion and was down 2.9 percent on an organic basis. The EBITDA margin declined 1 percent point to 36.7 percent. Telenor said the result was hurt by a temporary increase in costs in Thailand. Organic EBITDA growth for the year 2018 was 3 percent, in line with its outlook, and the EBITDA margin improved slightly to 41.1 percent, helped by a 3 percent reduction in operating costs at constant currency rates. 
 
Net profit fell to NOK 1.18 billion in Q4 from NOK 2.23 billion a year earlier, hurt by the settlement with CAT in Thailand. Over the full year, net profit rose by NOK 2.6 billion to NOK 14.6 billion, positively impacted by the gain on partial disposal of Telenor Microfinance Bank of NOK 1.8 billion and the sale of Telenor's activities in Central and Eastern Europe for NOK 1.7 billion. 
 
Telenor increased capex, excluding licences and spectrum, to NOK 6.1 billion in Q4, driven by accelerated network expansion in Thailand, in addition to ongoing fibre roll-out in Norway. Total capex was NOK 18.6 billion as a result of the capitalisation of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum in Thailand. For the full year, capex excluding licences and spectrum was NOK 16.8 billion, slightly lower than last year in line with the outlook, and Telenor expects this in a similar range of NOK 16-17 billion in 2019.
 
Telenor reported negative free cash flow of NOK 0.1 bnillion in Q4, but the full-year amount rose to NOK 31.99 billion from NOK 24.87 billion in 2017. The company increased its annual dividend by 4 percent to NOK 8.40, payable in two tranches of 4.40 and 4.00 in May and October.  
 
For the outlook in 2019, Telenor said it is still awaiting Dtac's forecast, which is expected in Q2. Excluding the Thai operations, the company expects organic subscription and traffic revenue growth of 0-2 percent and organic EBITDA growth of 1-3 percent.
 
The number of mobile subscriptions increased by 0.8 million during the fourth quarter, giving the company a total 174 million subscribers at year-end Bangladesh and Pakistan added 1.3 and 0.6 million subscriptions, respectively, partly offset by losses of 0.8 million in Myanmar and 0.1 million in both Malaysia and Thailand. The share of active data users in the subscription base was stable at 54 percent. 
 

GIF89;a