China Unicom doubles its profits over the last nine months

Natalie Bannerman
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As company third quarter reports are released this week, we run down some of the big global telcos and roundup their Q3 results

For the Q3 period, China Telecom reported net profits of approximately 18 billion CNY ($2.7 billion) showing an increase of 5.5% over a 9 month period. Total revenues rose to 274.7 billion CNY ($41.2 billion), showing an increase of 4.1%. Service turnover was up 7% to 249.7 billion CNY ($37.5 billion). In comparison last year EBITDA was up 3.7% to 78.8 billion CNY (11.8 billion) over the same period of 2016.

Nokia reported a loss this quarter. Non-IFRS net sales for Q3 2017 were down 9% year-on-year at €4.8 billion (it was at €5.3 billion in Q3 of 2016). The result is due to Ultra Broadband Networks, the company said, reflecting challenges in market conditions and projects in Mobile Networks mostly in North America and Greater China. Nokia also reported a ‘solid’ gross margin of 38.6%, showing a small increase of 1.1% year-on-year.

China Unicom has seen one of the best quarters reporting that it has almost doubled its profits over the last nine months. The company record profits of 4.05 billion yuan ($609 million) over January-September, versus 1.59 billion yuan a year ago. Its mobile service revenue grew 6.7%, while average revenue per mobile user per month, a key industry performance indicator, rose to 48.4 yuan from the 2016 average of 46.4 yuan. The number of its 4G network subscribers climbed from 55.7 million to 160 million. But, revenue from telecom product sales - such as handsets - dropped by 49% to 17.9 billion yuan.

By comparison KPN reported Q3 profits of €132 million versus only €45 million the previous year. In addition, the company says that its net profit grew to €87 million as a result of lower finance expenses and as the previous year there were additional costs related to a bond tender. Adjusted EBITDA was down 3.9% to €636 million. Q3 adjusted revenues from continuing operations fell 5.6% to €1.61 billion.

The Q3 period for Etisalat Group was also positive, the company reported a 29% increase in its net profits (after Federal Royalty). Etisalat UAE revenues totalled AED 7.6bn ($2.07bn) representing 3% increase year-on-year. Its net profits for Q3 increased 4% YoY to AED 2.0bn ($540m). EBITDA reached AED 4.1bn ($1.1bn) representing 1% increase YoY and resulting in EBITDA margin of 54%.

For Intelsat, the company recorded total revenue of $538.8 million, a total net loss of 30.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2017, attributable to Intelsat S.A. Its EBITDA came in at $414.6 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $420.5 million, or 78% of its revenue.

Mobile subscription and traffic revenue growth for Telenor Group rose by 3%, while the company reduced its costs by NOK 0.4 billion ($48 million) and achieved a ‘record high’ EBITDA margin of 42%. Net income was NOK 5.8 billion ($708 million).

Millicom beat expectations with its Q3 figures, its quarterly revenue grew to $1.51 billion compared to $1.49 billion in Q3 of 2016. Its quarterly ‍operating cash flow (EBIDTA - CAPEX) fell by $314 million when it was at $328 million in Q3 2016. It predicts that revenue growth will continue in the range of 2 to 4% and EBITDA growth expected to be at around 4 to 6%.

As for Telefonica, revenues for the company increased by 4.0% y-o-y in organic terms to €12,754m, up 0.9%. Vs the previous quarter. Operational cash flow maintained a strong pace of growth of 9.2% y-o-y organically, net income in the first nine months reached €2,439m, up 9.6% year-on-year, while earnings per share totalled €0.44 up 8.7%.