Financial

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.

SFR to lay off 1,100 staff: report

French operator SFR may announce 1,100 redundancies later this week owing to the difficult operating conditions in France, according to a story in Les Echos newspaper that cited comments made by a labor union official.

The French mobile-phone operator is set to present a jobs-reduction scheme to unions on Wednesday, but is also expected to create 300 new jobs, according to Vanessa Jereb of the UNSA union.

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.

MegaFon recruits former UK minister ahead of IPO

Russia’s MegaFon has appointed the UK’s former treasury minister Lord Paul Myners as a non-executive independent director as it tries to mollify concerns about its corporate governance ahead of an IPO in Moscow and London later this month.

Controlled through AF Telecom by Alisher Usmanov, a Russian oligarch born in Uzbekistan, MegaFon is hoping to raise about $2 billion from a sale of shares that will reduce the holdings of Sweden’s TeliaSonera (Stockholm, Sweden) and MegaFon’s managers.

Sawiris pursues $5 billion claim against Algeria

Weather Investments, controlled by Egyptian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris, has filed a $5 billion claim against the government of Algeria for harassing and interfering with Djezzy, its former telecoms subsidiary in the country.

It has filed the claim with the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, an arbitration tribunal that is a part of the World Bank.

Cisco to buy cloud networking start-up Meraki for $1.2 billion

Reuters

Networking equipment company Cisco Systems Inc said it will buy privately held cloud networking company Meraki for $1.2 billion in cash as part of its cloud and networking strategy.

Cisco (San Jose, USA) said the acquisition of Meraki (San Francisco, USA), which was founded in 2006 by members of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, is expected to close in the second quarter of Cisco's 2013 fiscal year and is subject to regulatory approval.

Cisco's second quarter runs until the end of January.

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