UPDATE 1-Telenor sets rapid growth, high dividend targets

Last Updated: Thu, Sep 20, 2012 14:06 hrs

* Keeps peak Indian funding cap target at 155 bln rupees

* Targets 2015 operating cash-flow of NOK 28-30 bln

* Analyst says new targets "surprisingly positive" (Adds detail, analyst)

OSLO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Norwegian telecom firm Telenor aims to grow faster than its peers over the next three years and plans to pay a high and growing dividend in the next few years, it said on Wednesday.

Telenor, which has over 150 million subscribers across Europe and Asia, aims to lift its operating cashflow to between 28 billion and 30 billion crowns ($4.90-$5.25 billion) by 2015, a big increase from 19.1 billion crowns in 2011, the firm said in a capital markets day presentation.

"They've set ambitious goals for 2015," said Espen Torgersen, an analyst at brokerage Carnegie. "The targets are clearly above market expectations and put the focus on better operations and higher cash flow... This is surprisingly positive."

In India, where the firm is at risk of losing its licenses and faces a costly licensing round, it said it would not lift its spending commitment and any upfront license fee had to fit within its previous guidance.

State-controlled Telenor is among eight mobile carriers in India set to lose a total of 122 regional operating permits after courts revoked licenses granted in a scandal-tainted licensing round.

Telenor, which earlier said it would exit India if the new licenses were too expensive, said its peak funding cap would remain 155 billion Indian rupees ($2.87 billion). The Uninor unit, a joint venture with Indian property company Unitech Ltd had accumulated losses of 127 billion rupees by the end of the second quarter.

Telenor added it aimed to pay out between 50 and 80 percent of its profit in dividends with nominal dividend growth for each year.

The company did not update its 2012 targets and only released "efficiency" targets for 2013, including keeping operating expenses below 35 percent of revenues and keeping capital expenditure at around 10 percent of sales. ($1 = 5.7146 Norwegian krones) ($1 = 54.0550 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Additional reporting by Henrik Stolen; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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