In today's EMEA regional roundup: FTTH funding in the UK; Altice downgraded to "negative"; Q3 revenues dip at Interoute; 4G beckons in Ukraine.
The UK government is to dip into its £31 billion (US$41.3 billion) National Productivity Investment Fund once again, this time scooping out £190 million ($253 million) to stimulate the "further and faster" rollout of full-fiber networks. This sub-pot of money, dubbed the Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Challenge Fund, will be open to applications from a range of public bodies, such as local authorities and Enterprise Partnerships. For more on this, see this story from our sister site, Telecoms.com. Earlier this week, the UK chancellor, Philip Hammond, used his Budget statement to trumpet the fact that £160 million ($213 million) had been found in the National Productivity Investment Fund for spending on 5G infrastructure. (See UK Govt Finds More Pocket Change for 5G.)
Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has revised its outlook on troubled operator Altice
to "negative" from "stable" following the recent announcements from the company about its growth expectations and management problems. "The negative outlook reflects the possibility of a downgrade in 2018 if management fails to improve operations in France, timely and sufficiently cut debt, and restore market confidence, or if we have renewed management and governance concerns," noted S&P in a public statement about its decision. The agency, for now, has affirmed its "B+" long-term corporate credit rating on Altice, which is currently seeking to offload assets to reduce its debt pile. (See Eurobites: Altice to Flog Dominican Business – Report, Eurobites: Altice Calms Investors' Nerves and Eurobites: Drahi Retakes Control at Altice as Combes Steps Down.)
Pan-European cloud, enterprise and wholesale service provider Interoute Communications Ltd. reported a slight year-on-year dip of 1.3% in third-quarter revenues to €174 million ($206 million), but its EBITDA grew by almost 53% to €39 million ($46 million) compared with a year earlier as the ongoing costs related to the integration of Easynet continued to shrink. Unfortunately for Interoute, the Easynet business it acquired in 2015 was not in as good a shape as it had expected, and it is now suing 14 former Easynet executives for failing to disclose a decline in trading prior to the acquisition, reports The Financial Times (subscription required). (See Interoute Bulks Up With $619M Easynet Buy.)
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has been demonstrating the benefits of moving from a 3G network to a 4G one at the headquarters of Ukrainian operator Lifecell, achieving speeds in excess of 450 Mbit/s. With Ericsson's help, the operator hopes to be able to make the switch in a matter months.
Managed services specialist Claranet Ltd. has reported full fiscal year revenues (ending June 2017) of £216.5 million ($288.5 million), up by 42% from fiscal 2016. The UK-based company, which provides managed cloud, networking, hosting and other IT services to enterprise users in western Europe and Brazil, also grew its adjusted EBITDA for the year by 32% to £38.7 million ($51.6 million). For more details, see this news announcement.
Belgian operator Proximus has added Liège to its list of cities getting the FTTH treatment under its "Fiber for Belgium" initiative. The rollout will begin in the city center, before being extended to 12 business parks on the outskirts of the city by the end of 2018. (See Eurobites: Proximus Invests €3B in Fiber Frenzy.)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading