Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Testing times at Spirent; NSN provides vendor funding in Saudi; EE's on its way to Wembley.
Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) announced a significant increase in its planned capital expenditure for 2014 today as it announced its full-year results for last year. In 2013, the Spanish giant, which has more than 323 million customers across Europe and Latin America, spent about 14.5% of its total sales on its network and system investments (excluding spectrum license costs). With 2013 revenues at €57 billion (US$78 billion), that puts last year's capex at just short of €8.2 billion ($11.1 billion). Now, though, the carrier says it is to increase its capex to 15.5-16% of revenues in 2014 to "stimulate growth, to [deliver] network differentiation and to improve market positioning, among other reasons." With its revenues likely to rise slightly this year, Telefónica looks set to pump almost €9.2 billion ($12.5 billion) into its networks and support infrastructures. In the company's earnings announcement, Telefónica Chairman, César Alierta, said: "Among our targets, we will continue accelerating revenue growth and, at the same time, we will increase investments to anticipate to the growing demand from the increasingly intensive data service usage, as well as the recovery of demand expected in some of our main markets… In 2014 Telefónica will double the fibre coverage in Spain to 7.1 million homes passed, reaching the highest coverage levels among the largest economies in Europe. In Brazil we will also increase fibre coverage to 2.5 million homes. In the mobile business, we will expand 4G usage in Europe reaching an average coverage of more than 50%, while we continue leading the mobile data market in Latin America with the progressive launch of 4G." (See Telefónica Reports 2013 Profit Growth.)
"Strong headwinds in certain market segments" and "spending caution by Chinese customers" were two of the reasons given for a substantial fall in earnings and profits at Spirent Communications plc , the test and measurement technology vendor. In its full-year results for 2013, revenues slipped from $472.4 million to $413.5 million, while pre-tax profits plummeted from $108.4 million to $39.1 million. (See Spirent Reports Full-Year Results.)
Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily) , the Saudi Arabian mobile operator, is to benefit from an additional $280 million in vendor funding from Nokia Networks , taking the total funding to $605 million. The cash is to finance a major upgrade of the operator's 4G, 3G, and 2G networks over the next two years. For more details, see this press release. The operator has also struck a vendor financing deal, again valued at $280 million, with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) for equipment and services that will support the mobile infrastructure upgrade.
Colt Technology Services Group Ltd , the pan-European service provider, saw its full-year revenues decline 1.2% year-on-year in 2013 to €1.59 billion ($2.17 billion) and pre-tax profits fall 31.1% to €42.4 million ($57.8 million). Adverse currency movements and regulatory price pressures copped some of the blame.
UK mobile joint venture EE has signed a six-year deal with the company that runs London's iconic Wembley Stadium to provide, among other things, mobile ticketing solutions, enhanced mobile network access, and "super-fast" Wi-Fi. Financial details were not disclosed.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee: A safer pair of hands than Joe Hart? (US readers: Google it.)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading