French construction group Bouygues SA pumped €678 million into its Bouygues Telecom unit, providing much-needed funding for the mobile and fixed operator and increasing its stake to 90.53 per cent from 89.55 per cent.
According to Bloomberg, Bouygues raised its stake in the operator via a capital increase, which also saw JC Decaux Holding inject funding of €22 million, although its stake declined to 9.47 percent from 10.45 percent.
The capital raising exercise was required to help fund the cost of buying LTE spectrum in the two auctions in 2011: Bouygues paid a total of €943 million to buy one block of 2.6 GHz and one block of 800 MHz spectrum.
The operator also hopes to be able to refarm its existing 1800 MHz spectrum for LTE services; a decision from Arcep is expected on the matter in January.
Like its incumbent rivals Orange France and SFR, Bouygues Telecom has been hard hit by the price war sparked by Iliad's Free Telecom, which launched a €19.99 price plan including unlimited voice, texting and 3 GB of data a month in January last year. Bouygues Telecom has responded to the more competitive prices mainly through its low-cost brand, B&YOU, which also this week said it will introduce unlimited mobile calls in French overseas departments and territories.
- see this Bloomberg article
SFR holds steady on €1.6B in network investment for 2013
Report: SFR, Free Mobile merger plan blocked by regulator
Report: SFR, Free Mobile discuss possible merger
Orange, SFR hit with €183M fine for anticompetitive practices
Bouygues Telecom sues Free Mobile over smears and 'unfair competition'
Free Mobile ups ante in French mobile price war