By Victor Goury-Laffont and Supantha Mukherjee
Dutch mobile telecoms operator Veon raised its full-year core profit and revenue targets on Monday, while cutting its investment forecast to improve financial discipline after selling its Russian operations.
The Amsterdam-listed company now expects full-year growth in its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to be between 18% and 20%, against a prior forecast of between 10% and 14%.
Veon also sees 18%-20% sales growth in the full year. Its previous outlook was for revenue to increase between 16 and 19%, guidance which had already been raised once in August.
Shares were up around 4% at 1110 GMT.
The group, which operates across six markets, nonetheless cut its investment target. Veon’s capex intensity outlook for the year was reduced to 16 to 18% compared to previous guidance of between 18 and 20%.
“Following the completion of the sale of Russia operations, financial discipline remains our top priority,” CEO Kaan Terzioglu said in a statement.
The company announced its complete exit from the Russian market last month. Veon “has a very different profile” after leaving Russia, Terzioglu told Reuters, describing a “more compact company, faster growing” with “a much healthier balance sheet”.
Veon’s gross debt was slashed by more than half over the past year to $4.33 billion at end-September from $11.45 billion a year ago.
Terzioglu also said Veon was working with Microsoft , Open AI and Google in what he described as a push for “AI for all,” with an intent to bring the technology into local languages.
“The ability to bring Kazak language, Uzbek language, Bengali language or Urdu language augmented intelligence to a teacher, a doctor or a farmer will have a huge impact on the livelihood of the communities in the countries that we operate in.”