Magyar Telekom Unexpectedly Posts 4th Quarter Loss on Tax

Magyar Telekom Nyrt., the Hungarian phone unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE), unexpectedly posted a fourth- quarter loss as a new telephone tax wiped out profit and as management forecast declining sales for this year.

The loss attributable to owners of the parent was 1.6 billion forint ($7.1 million) in October-December, compared with a 40.3 billion forint loss a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Budapest bourse today. The mean estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was a profit of 505 million forint.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, an indicator closely watched by analysts and investors, may decline by 4 percent to 7 percent this year while sales revenue may decline as much as 3 percent, Chief Executive Officer Christopher Mattheisen forecast in the report.

Ebitda in the fourth quarter declined 21 percent to 37 billion forint as a new phone-call tax cost the company an extra 4.4 billion forint compared with the year-ago period. Ebitda fell 9.1 percent to 52.5 billion forint when excluding investigation-related costs and provisions, severance expenses and extraordinary taxes.

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