July 15, 2020 / 8:54 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 2-Finnish telecom Elisa reports slower Q2 sales growth, shares drop

(Adds shares, analyst)

TALLINN, July 15 (Reuters) - Finland’s Elisa on Wednesday reported its second-quarter sales growth slowed to 2% as lower roaming revenue and equipment sales offset a jump in data usage on its mobile network.

Revenue for the April-June quarter rose to 461 million euros ($527 million), the company said, and noted data usage on its mobile network during coronavirus lockdowns surged by more than 40% from a year earlier.

Group sales growth slowed from 6.5% in the first quarter, however, as lockdowns also meant lower roaming revenue from corporate customers and closed shops.

Elisa shares were down more than 4% in early trade.

“Mobile churn levels and equipment sales have decreased due to the reduced number of customer visits to physical stores, and roaming revenue has reduced as travelling has been virtually non-existent,” the company said.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 6% to 168 million euros, in line with the 168.7 million expected by analysts in a Refinitiv poll. Profit from corporate customers fell 3% from a year earlier.

Elisa, which competes with Telia and Telenor’s DNA in Finland, reiterated that it expects 2020 revenue and EBITDA at the same level or slightly higher than 2019, despite mounting risks of an economic slowdown.

“Elisa will continue to implement its business efficiently and predictably, which will keep the risk level very low, but on the other hand it will also be reflected in the tight valuation,” Inderes analysts said in a note to clients.

Elisa shares are valued at 27.1 times earnings for the next 12 months versus 15.6 times for telecoms services companies on average, Refinitiv data showed.

$1 = 0.8745 euros Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Tallinn; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jason Neely

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