Maxis reports 17.7% profit decline as competition grows

Weaker sales and the rising cost of device subsidies triggered declines in third-quarter revenues and net income at Maxis, Malaysia’s biggest telecoms operator.

While revenues dropped 1.2%, to 2.21 billion ringgits ($723 million), compared with the same period of 2011, net profit was down an alarming 17.7%, to 443 million ringgits.

Maxis (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) faces particularly aggressive competition in the mobile-phone sector and has been forced to cut prices and increase device discounts to attract and retain customers.

Shanduka Group takes stake in MTN Nigeria for $335 million

South Africa’s Shanduka Group has paid $335 million for a stake in MTN Nigeria, the West African country’s largest mobile-phone business.

Describing itself as a black-owned and managed investment holding company, Shanduka (Sandton, South Africa) has acquired the stake from three private investors but not disclosed how much of MTN Nigeria it now owns.

The operator is majority owned by South Africa’s MTN Group (Johannesburg, South Africa), which holds a 78.83% stake in the company.

Telecom Italia not bidding for GVT: report

In what could be a blow to the European ambitions of Egypt’s Naguib Sawiris, Telecom Italia says it will not bid for GVT, Vivendi’s Brazilian phone business, according to Italy’s Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper.

Billionaire Sawiris this week confirmed that he would attempt to buy a stake in the Italian incumbent through a cash injection of €3 billion ($3.9 billion), but Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy) had previously hinted at a lack of interest unless it decided to proceed with a bid for GVT (Curitiba, Brazil).

Second wind for Egyptian telco tycoon Sawiris

Reuters

Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris is used to ruffling feathers and making headlines.

He was up to both on Tuesday, provoking shareholders at Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy) with proposals to make himself a significant shareholder at half the price they might want, while the political party he co-founded prepared for protests against Egypt's president.

Telefonica mulls IPO of LatAm businesses

Telefonica is weighing up whether to sell shares in its Latin American operations on the New York Stock Exchange, according to a report in Spain’s Expansion newspaper.

The various subsidiaries would be grouped into a Spanish holding company for trading sometime next year, reports the paper.

An IPO would help Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) to reduce its substantial pile of debt, which has continued to grow in recent years as the Spanish incumbent has expanded its international operations.

PCCW partnership wins fixed license in Oman

Oman has awarded a fixed-line telecoms license to a partnership between PCCW International and Awaser Oman Co, according to a statement filed by the country’s regulatory body.

The license covers the greater Muscat area – home to about 700,000 of Oman’s 2.8 million people – and is valid for a period of 25 years.

PCCW International (Hong Kong) and Awaser Oman Co (Muscat, Oman) will be able to provide both fixed-line voice and data services.

New tax to cost Magyar Telekom up to $50 million a year

Magyar Telekom expects a new tax approved by Hungary’s parliament on Tuesday to cost it between HUF9 billion ($41 million) and HUF11 billion a year from 2013 onwards.

Hungarian authorities have levied a charge of HUF125 per meter on the owners of ducts that support electricity, telecoms, natural gas, heating, water and wastewater services.

Telecoms operators must pay 20% of the per-meter rate for the first 170,000 meters, 40% for the next 80,000, 80,000% for the 50,000 after that and the full rate for anything in excess of 300,000 meters.

Telecom Italia considering bid for GVT: report

Telecom Italia has expressed interest in buying GVT, the Brazilian telecoms operator owned by France’s Vivendi.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Marco Patuano, Telecom Italia’s chief operating officer, said the Italian incumbent would evaluate a purchase of GVT (Curitiba, Brazil) during its board meeting next month, but would need additional capital to fund the takeover.

Speaking at this week’s Morgan Stanley TMT conference, Patuano is reported to have said that Egypt’s Naguib Sawiris could provide the means to invest in GVT.

SingTel profits down 1.6% on Australia competition, regulation

SingTel reported a 1.6% year-on-year fall in net profit for the September-ending quarter, to S$868 million ($710 million), with performance hit by price competition and unfavourable regulation in Australia’s mobile-phone market.

A rise in expenses and the impact of foreign exchange movements also weighed on the bottom line.

Overall revenues were just 0.8% lower than in the corresponding quarter of 2011, at S$4.572 billion, but revenues from Australia’s Optus fell by 3.6% to S$2.9 billion.

Orascom earnings boosted by forex gains

Egypt’s Orascom Telecom swung to a net profit of $106 million for the third quarter, compared with a net loss of $1.5 million in the same period last year, after foreign exchange gains boosted its earnings.

Performance was aided by a 7.6% reduction in capital expenditure as Orascom (Cairo, Egypt) slowed the pace of network expansion in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

But the operator, which merged with Russia’s VimpelCom (Amsterdam, Netherlands) last year, also blamed currency movements for a 4.4% drop in dollar-denominated revenues, to $885 million.

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