Telenor reports 4Q loss of India writedown

Associated Press + More

OLSO, Norway (AP) — Norway's Telenor said Wednesday that a court decision in India to cancel all operating licenses of its Uninor subsidiary led to a 1.9 billion kroner ($330 million) fourth-quarter loss.

CEO Jan Baksaas said the Norwegian telecom company was "severely penalized" by the Indian Supreme Court ruling to cancel all licenses issued in 2008 for "actions that took place before we entered India."

On Feb. 2 India's top court ordered the government to cancel licenses granted to companies during an irregular sale of cell phone spectrum. The sale has been branded as one of India's largest scandals in history.

In all, the court revoked 122 licenses, of which nearly a fifth belonged to Uninor.

Telenor valued the loss of Uninor's 22 licenses at 4.1 billion kroner ($710 million), which reduced 2011 earnings to 7.9 billion kroner ($1.4 billion), down 45 percent from 14.3 billion kroner in 2010.

"We are working to protect our investments in all possible manners, and will consider every option prior to any further investments," Baksaas said.

Telenor said that despite the setback both fourth-quarter revenue grew 7 percent to 25.4 billion kroner ($4.4 billion), while full year revenue also grew 7 percent to 98.5 billion kroner ($17.1 billion).

The company said it added 29 million new subscribers during the year.

Telenor forecast that revenue would grow 5 percent in 2012 but losses from the license loss will also continue to impact financials.

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