Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Altice's ambition; Bouygues Telecom sees revenues slide; controlling drones by brainwaves.
Russia's VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP) is predicting a tough trading year ahead, Bloomberg reports, not least because of the ongoing unrest in Ukraine, one of its most significant business territories. The operator said in a statement that service revenue may drop by as much as a low single-digit percentage in 2015, though one analyst quoted thought this sounded optimistic. Last year VimpelCom's sales fell 13% to $19.6 billion, due in large part to plummeting Russian and Ukrainian currencies on the back of falling oil prices. (See Ukraine 3G Auction Raises Less Than $300M.)
Altice, the group that controls cable/mobile combo Numericable-SFR /SFR in France, is on the prowl for more acquisition prey, according to a Financial Times report (subscription required). CEO Dexter Goei told the newspaper that it planned to take advantage of cheap borrowing to extend its European interests. (See Altice Bids €3.9B for Remaining Numericable-SFR Stake, Altice in Exclusive Talks to Buy Portugal Telecom and Eurobites: Numericable Wins SFR M&A Tussle.)
Bouygues Telecom , thought to be one of the companies in Altice's sights, saw full-year revenues fall 5% to €4.43 billion (US$5.02 billion), and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) fall by €186 million ($210 million) to €694 million ($786 million).
Shares in Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily) have been suspended after the operator drastically revised its 2014 financial results, posting a loss instead of a previously announced profit, reports Reuters. The financial regulator said Mobily has some explaining to do.
Cable giant Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) has got the green light from the European Commission for its plan to acquire a controlling stake in Belgian media group De Vijver, reports Reuters. The cable giant had to agree to license De Vijver's TV channels on fair terms to rivals, if required to.
Is this what they mean by "thought leadership"? According to a BBC report, technology has been developed that allows a drone to be controlled from the ground using only a person's brainwaves. The company involved in the project, Tekever, says that in the long term the technology could be used to control larger aircraft, such as cargo planes. Yikes!
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading