February 12, 2014 / 6:40 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Norway's Telenor profits miss, dividend beats forecasts

* Dividend raise 17 pct to NOK 7

* Sees “low single digit” revenue growth in 2014

* Sees steady EBITDA margin in 2014 (Adds detail)

OSLO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Norwegian telecoms group Telenor reported fourth-quarter earnings which missed expectations on Wednesday but proposed a big dividend increase that beat market forecasts.

Telenor, which has around 160 million subscribers across Europe and Asia, said it would raise its dividend by 17 percent to 7 crowns per share, ahead of market expectations for 6.83 crowns, as it plans to pay out 73 percent of normalised net income.

For 2014, state controlled Telenor sees organic revenue growth in the “low single digits” after a 1 percent rise in 2013, and plans to focus on monetising its high data traffic and starting operations in Myanmar, its 13th country.

In the fourth quarter, Telenor’s adjusted earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 9.6 percent to 8.99 billion crowns ($1.47 billion), missing expectations for 9.20 billion crowns in a Reuters poll.

For 2014, it also sees a steady EBITDA margin after 34.5 percent in 2013 and sees capital expenditure around 16 percent of revenues, excluding licence fees.

Telenor shares have been among the worst performers in the sector, falling 9 percent over the past three months and underperforming a flat European telecoms index.

The stock has been weighed down by Vimpelcom’s dividend cut which reduced cash flow by about 2.5 billion crowns, turbulence on emerging markets, where the firm has large exposure, and the expected start up costs in Myanmar. ($1 = 6.1124 Norwegian kroner) (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi, editing by Gwladys Fouche and Elizabeth Piper)

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