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NII Holdings Sinks as 2013 Profits to Miss Forecast by 30%

NII Holdings Inc., which sells Nextel wireless service in Latin America, fell to a 10-year low after saying it will miss its forecast for 2013 profit by 30 percent or more.

Weaker-than-expected results and the depreciation of currencies in Latin America will cause the shortfall, Reston, Virginia-based NII said today in a statement. The company will miss its target for $600 million to $650 million in operating income by at least $200 million, it said.

NII is struggling to hold on to subscribers as competitors such as America Movil SAB and Telefonica SA offer faster download speeds for smartphones. The company lost 178,000 customers in the third quarter to end with 9.7 million.

Bond prices also sank following the report. The company’s $800 million of 10 percent senior unsecured notes due August 2016 dropped 7 cents to 78 cents on the dollar, the lowest closing level since the securities were issued in April 2010, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Yields on the notes climbed to 20.8 percent, up from this year’s low of 8.4 percent in May.

The third-quarter net loss from continuing operations widened to $293.1 million, or $1.70 a share, from $61.7 million, or 36 cents, a year earlier. Sales slumped 22 percent to $1.1 billion, missing the $1.22 billion average estimate of analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

NII shares fell 29 percent in New York trading, the biggest one-day drop on record, to $3.43. That’s its lowest closing price since March 2003.

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