Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Tele2 sells Austrian business; Proximus holds steady in Q2; MTS buys regional operator in Urals.
Things may have been getting a little turbulent lately at Telecom Italia (TIM) , with the increasing control exerted by French conglomerate Vivendi persuading former CEO Flavio Cattaneo that his future lies elsewhere, but everything looks pretty rosy in the Italian incumbent's half-year results. EBITDA grew 10.4% year-on-year to €4.1 billion (US$4.8 billion) on revenues that were up 7.4% on the previous year at €9.8 billion ($11.4 billion). Domestically, EBITDA rose 5.6%, while at its Brazilian unit the upswing was even more marked, at 14.3%. With Cattaneo about to clear his desk and pocket a leaving present of €25 million ($29.2 million), his responsibilities will be temporarily fulfilled by Executive Chairman Arnaud de Puyfontaine. Cattaneo's parting shot? "I leave the company better than I found it." (See Cattaneo Quits as Telecom Italia CEO, Gets €25M.)
Swedish operator Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has agreed to sell its Austrian business to 3 Austria for €95 million ($111 million). According to a statement, the deal "provides an opportunity for Tele2 to realise value from a combination with Three Austria, and better position the business to meet future customer needs in the Austrian market." It also forms part of a strategy going forward that sees Tele2 focus on markets where it can rely on its own connectivity infrastructure. Tele2 Austria recorded net sales of 1.1 billion Swedish kronor ($135 million) and an EBITDA of SEK185 million ($22.7 million) in 2016. It serves 217,000 customers and has 241 employees.
Underlying domestic earnings at Belgium's Proximus inched up 1.1% to €430 million ($503 million) in the second quarter, on revenue that remained flat. During the quarter, Proximus initiated the commercial rollout of 4.5G, increased its vectoring coverage to 77% of Belgian homes (providing half the population with access to 100Mbit/s service) and launched its "Fiber for Belgium" rollout in four cities. Capex outlook for 2017 of around €1 billion ($1.1 billion) was confirmed in the light of these results.
Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) has bolstered its presence in the Urals region of Russia through the acquisition of regional network operator Bashkortostan Cellular Communication OJSC (BCC) for 300 million Russian rubles ($5 million). The deal brings additional frequency resources to MTS, including two bands of 15MHz at 2,100 MHz, as well as two bands of 4.4MHz in the 450MHz spectrum.
EE has come out top in a new survey of UK mobile operator performance by RootMetrics . This is the eighth consecutive time EE has clinched the top spot in this annual survey, though its score declined in both the "call performance" and "network reliability" categories. For the record, in terms of overall performance, 3 came second, Vodafone third and O2 fourth.