KPN slashes capex, says on cooperative terms with América Móvil

KPN said it plans to spend around €4.7 billion ($6.5 billion) on its network from 2013 until the end of 2015, which is well below the Dutch operator's previous guidance of below €7 billion and indicates that the operator believes a large part of the investment in its LTE and fibre networks has been completed.

The operator noted that its investments in fixed and mobile networks in the Netherlands in recent years "have been high" especially compared to rival operators T-Mobile Netherlands and Vodafone Netherlands.

"A large part of these higher investments have now been completed, with nationwide 4G coverage to be achieved in Q1 2014 and an upgraded copper/FTTH network that is ahead of the curve in Europe," KPN said in a statement following the announcement of its third-quarter results.

During a conference call with analysts, Reuters reported, the group also said it remained on cooperative terms with América Móvil, which recently dropped plans to launch a full takeover of the Dutch operator. KPN has since said talks with the Carlos Slim-owned group could resume, although it has made it clear that América Móvil's €7.2 billion offer was too low.

"Regarding América Móvil, we have had numerous discussions on all aspects of their intended unsolicited offer," CEO Eelco Blok said in a statement. "This thorough process has not led to an agreement which could be recommended to our shareholders."

Meanwhile KPN said market conditions remain challenging, and reported a third-quarter net loss of €243 million ($335 million) on an impairment charge of €529 million on its German E-Plus business, according to Bloomberg. This compares with a €267 million profit in the previous year. The company said it expects its business in the Netherlands to stabilise next year.

"Our businesses in The Netherlands and Belgium are showing positive operational momentum," said Blok. "In Germany we continue to make good progress with our strategy to return to growth. We are pleased that our shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale of E-Plus and we are working with Telefónica Deutschland to get regulatory clearance."

Blok. also said  KPN will have a strong financial profile after the sale of E-Plus, which it plans to sell to Telefónica to €8.55 billion, subject to regulatory approval.

For more:
- see this KPN release
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this separate Bloomberg article

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