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KPN ‘Laser Focused’ on 3 Billion-Euro Share Sale, CFO Says

Royal KPN NV, the Dutch phone operator partly owned by Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB, is now “laser focused” on selling 3 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in shares after closing a hybrid bond program, Chief Financial Officer Eric Hageman said.

“Just as in Europe, we’ve found a lot of interested investors in the U.S. and Asia that really believed in our story,” Hageman said in a telephone interview today, adding the hybrid bonds -- which are expected to receive 50 percent equity recognition -- were oversubscribed by more than eight times.

KPN sold $600 million in 60-year notes that it can redeem in 10 years at a yield of 7 percent amid record European sales of securities that combine features of debt and equity. The proceeds will be about 465 million euros, according to a statement from The Hague-based operator. Together with a 1.56 billion-euro issue on March 14, this will complete the 2 billion-euro bond program, KPN said.

That leaves a 3 billion-euro share sale that needs approval from shareholders next month to complete the capital injection announced by the company on Feb. 20.

KPN needs the money to strengthen its balance sheet after spending 1.35 billion euros on mobile network spectrum in the fourth quarter. Investing in faster mobile networks is key for carriers as consumers increasingly use smartphones to surf the web, download music and watch videos. KPN also faces increased competition in the Netherlands from Stockholm-based Tele2 AB.

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