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Euronews: Telecom Italia Bails Out of Argentina

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Profits way down at Telekom Austria; Polkomtel to change hands; hydrogen-powered phone chargers for Africa.

  • As widely predicted in the press last week, Telecom Italia (TIM) has sold off its entire stake in Telecom Argentina (NYSE: TEO), for US$960 million. As Bloomberg reports, the buyer was the Fintech Group, a Mexican investment firm. Shares in Telecom Italia, which is pulling out all the stops to reduce its debt pile, rose 1.1 percent in early Milan trading on news of the deal. Separately, Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) chairman Cesar Alierta has told an Italian newspaper that there are no plans for a merger between his company and the Italian incumbent, despite speculation to the contrary. (See Euronews: Telecom Italia Plans Asset Sale and Euronews: Italy Seeks Jobs Guarantee From Telefónica.)

  • Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA) is claiming to have showed a "solid performance" in the first nine months of 2013, but net profits are down 11.6 percent year-on-year to €159.2 million ($213.8 million) on group revenues down 2.6 percent to €3.12 billion ($4.19 billion). In a statement accompanying the earnings release, the operator pointed to a "very challenging macroeconomic environment and strong regulatory burdens," with Austria, Croatia, and Bulgaria all proving to be less-than-happy hunting grounds. For more detail on the figures, see this press release.

  • Polish mobile operator Polkomtel SA is to change hands, reports Reuters. Buying is Poland's largest media group, Cyfrowy Polsat; selling is the group's co-owner, Polish businessman Zygmunt Solorz-Zak.

  • UK company Intelligent Energy is hoping to help African mobile users get round the problem of unreliable energy supply by rolling out 1 million new hydrogen-powered phone chargers, mainly in Nigeria and South Africa, reports Reuters. The chargers consist of a hygrogen fuel cell and a cartridge that can be "refuelled" when exhausted.

  • The British government is summoning all the main UK operators to a summit today as Prime Minister David Cameron tries to recover some ground lost to Labour, the opposition party, over control of utility bills, reports The Guardian. According to an unnamed source, the main thrust of the confab will be tackling that old chestnut "bill shock," though mid-contract price rises will also come under the microscrope.

  • And on the subject of the British government, the ruling coalition is pointing to a new report that, it says, suggests that its much criticized rural broadband rollout will deliver benefits to the UK economy worth 20 times its not inconsiderable cost. The rollout has received a lot of flak for seemingly offering the lion's share of the infrastructure work to BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), despite initial promises of open competition. (See Rural Rollout.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • albreznick 11/17/2013 | 6:16:15 PM
    Re: No cable news again? You're right. My fault. How could I have missed that? Any more holidays like that coming up? I want to be prepared. 
    DOShea 11/16/2013 | 9:47:02 PM
    Telecom Italia That bit about Telefonica and Telecom Italia is surprising, given how much speculation there had been and assumptions that it was pretty far along. Does that mean someone else swoops in to pick up Telecom Italia?
    PaulERainford 11/15/2013 | 4:14:55 AM
    Re: No cable news again? No, it was Kabelfreisdag, a cable holiday in Scandinavia and the Balkans. Don't you ever check your diary?
    albreznick 11/14/2013 | 6:01:42 PM
    No cable news again? No European cable news today? You're disappointing me again, Paul. Get on the stick, will ya? Surely something happened in Scandinavia or the Balkans, no? 
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