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Euronews: AlcaLu Gains on Credit Boost

Paul Rainford

Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson AB, Neelie Kroes and TeliaSonera AB get jiggy with it in today's slide through the EMEA news headlines.

  • Alcatel-Lucent has extended the credit facility announced in December to "around €2 billion" (US$2.7 billion) from €1.615 billion ($2.18 billion) and has negotiated improved terms and conditions. The news, which reflects growing confidence in the vendor's future, gave AlcaLu's stock a near 4 percent boost to €1.26 in morning trading on the Paris exchange Thursday morning. The share price has risen by more than 21 percent this year, though the company still carries a total market valuation of just €2.94 billion ($3.98 billion). (See Alcatel-Lucent Secures €1.6B Lifeline.)
  • Ericsson reported a mixed set of financials for 2012's fourth quarter and full year. Its revenues for the final three months of last year were up 5 percent year-on-year and up 23 percent sequentially to 66.9 billion Swedish kronor ($10.52 billion) but it reported a net loss of SEK6.3 billion ($991 million) because of a major writedown in the value of its wireless chip venture ST-Ericsson. Full-year sales showed little change from 2011 at SEK227.8 billion ($35.84 billion), but its full-year net profit dipped by more than half to SEK5.9 billion ($927 million), with ST-Ericsson to blame yet again. But there are signs that the vendor's Networks division should help deliver improving profitability as 2013 progresses.
  • Neelie Kroes, the European Commission's feisty vice president for the Digital Agenda, has been outlining her ten-point plan for the future of broadband and broadband-related business in Europe. The To Do list reads roughly as follows: i) stimulate investment through the right regulatory framework; ii) deliver the radio spectrum policy program; iii) implement a "wireless action plan" in the spring; iv) get the EU member states to support broadband rollout; v) cut the cost of civil engineering associated with broadband rollout; vi) persuade member states to support broadband with state aid where the market can't deliver; vii) boost trust in broadband services through added transparency in areas like download speeds; viii) set out guidance on net neutrality; ix) publish a new recommendation on universal service; x) continue a "host of actions" to stimulate demand for broadband. (That last one sounds like a bit of a cheat, to be honest.) "I'm in a fighting mood, and Europe can't wait," adds Kroes. Be afraid. (See Euronews: Kroes Plan Is Krazy, Say Telcos, Euronews: Steely Neelie's Copper Clampdown and Steely Neelie's FTTX Face Off.)
  • Fourth-quarter operating income at Nordic operator TeliaSonera fell by 0.8 percent year-on-year to 7.6 billion Swedish kronor ($1.19 billion), despite a 1.8 percent rise in revenues. TeliaSonera is still the subject of an investigation into its investments in Uzbekistan in 2007. (See Euronews: TeliaSonera to Cut 2,000 Jobs and TeliaSonera Launches Uzbek Review.)
  • Things are looking sunny at U.K. satellite broadcaster and broadband service provider BSkyB Ltd., which reported half-year operating profits up 7 percent year-on-year at £679 million ($1.07 billion). CEO Jeremy Darroch is still hopeful of further gains in telephony and broadband, however: "With 33 percent triple-play penetration, we see good headroom for further growth with over six million TV customers yet to switch their communications services to Sky," he said in a statement. — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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