Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia's H1 hit by one-off charges; tough times for TDC in Denmark; Tele Columbus preps for M&A action.
Russia-based VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP) and Hong Kong group Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY) have agreed to merge their respective Italian mobile units in a 50-50 joint venture, reports Reuters. It's a move that, if approved by Italy's regulatory authorities, will cut the number of mobile operators in the country from four to three. A Reuters source said the new company would be valued at around €21.8 billion (US$23.8 billion).
One-off charges relating to restructuring, legal settlements and other issues dented Telecom Italia (TIM) 's half-year results, with €399 million ($436 million) being accounted for in this way. Partly as a result of this, net profits slumped to €29 million ($31.7 million), from €543 million ($593.7 million) a year earlier. Revenues were down 3.3% in organic terms, to €10.1 billion ($11 billion). Capex increased by 25.7% in the second quarter, with more than €2 billion ($2.2 billion) being invested in new fixed and mobile "ultra-broadband" networks.
Tough conditions in its home market sent TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC)'s second-quarter organic revenue southwards by 2.3%, while its organic EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) slipped by 7.7%. Price pressure is being keenly felt in Denmark, with mobile ARPU (average revenue per user) down 18% and broadband ARPU down 8%.
German cable operator Tele Columbus AG is planning to ready itself for further acquisitions with a capital increase, reports Broadband TV News. Earlier this year, Tele Columbus agreed to acquire rival Primacom for €711 million ($777.3 million).
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading