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KPN Sells Dutch Mobile Towers to Strengthen Balance Sheet

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Royal KPN NV, the largest Dutch phone operator, has agreed to sell part of its Dutch mobile towers to Indonesia’s Protelindo as the company is looking to strengthen its balance sheet.

Protelindo, an operator of towers for wireless communications, will pay 75 million euros ($97 million) for the towers which will result in a one-time gain for the Dutch company of 66 million euros, The Hague-based KPN said in a statement today. KPN already disposed of mobile towers from 2008 to 2012, and after such sales it leases back the space it needs for network equipment, the company said.

“KPN does not consider the exploitation of a large part of its Dutch mobile towers to be a core business,” KPN said.

Declining earnings caused KPN to miss its target range on its net debt-to-Ebitda ratio in the third quarter, which rose to 2.7. The company is likely to be one of the parties taking part in the Dutch mobile spectrum auction, starting today, according to analysts.

To raise cash, KPN has tried to sell Belgian mobile-phone unit Base after it ended discussions on a potential merger involving the E-Plus wireless unit in Germany. The non-binding offers it received for Base were unsatisfactory, KPN said in August.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maaike Noordhuis in Amsterdam at mnoordhuis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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