Royal KPN NV, the largest Dutch phone company, reported stabilizing revenue and rising earnings in its residential and consumer mobile units as it added broadband subscriptions and Internet TV customers last quarter.
While the corporate business in the Netherlands is declining, KPN added 35,000 residential broadband customers and 77,000 customers that watch TV through the Internet. The operator also added 59,000 mobile subscribers, in part due to a growing demand for bundling fixed-line and mobile services, the company said on Thursday.
“Operationally it was a bit better than I expected, a bit more Internet customers and new mobile customers,” Marc Hesselink, an analyst for ABN Amro Bank NV, said by phone.
KPN’s focus is back on its home market after agreeing to sell its Belgian business to a unit of Liberty Global Plc last week. KPN is cutting jobs to reduce costs as domestic competition intensifies. Rivals Tele2 AB and T-Mobile, owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, are increasing the coverage area for their 4G networks, while Liberty Global is building a cable company that can reach 90 percent of the Netherlands, offering mobile services, Internet and TV.
The stock rose as much as 3.8 percent and was trading up 1.2 percent to 3.30 euros in Amsterdam at 9:42 a.m. Shares of KPN have gained 26 percent this year, valuing the former Dutch monopoly at about 14 billion euros.
First-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 3.4 percent to 603 million euros ($669 million), the operator said in a statement. The average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts was for Ebitda of 610 million euros. Ebitda in the residential consumer unit rose 3.1 percent to 100 million euros while earnings for the consumer mobile arm rose 5.5 percent.
The sale of the Belgian unit will result in a one-time gain of more than 400 million euros, KPN said.
KPN stills owns a 20.5 percent stake in Telefonica Deutschland Holding AG, which Chief Executive Officer Eelco Blok has said he’ll consider divesting. Billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB in turn holds a 21.1 percent stake in KPN.