Nov 19 (Reuters) - Telecoms and cable group Altice Europe
beat quarterly core profit forecasts on Thursday, as
it added French mobile and residential fibre customers,
offsetting lower media revenues.
The multinational group's adjusted earnings before interest,
taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the third
quarter rose 5.1% from a year earlier to 1.48 billion euros
($1.75 billion), on revenues edging 3.2% up, both ahead of
"We had a good third-quarter; robust performance with net
gains in fixed and mobile in most of our geographies," Altice
founder and main shareholder Patrick Drahi said in a call,
stipulating that in France the group had slightly underperformed
He forecast a negative fourth-quarter coronavirus impact, as
travel restrictions hit roaming fees, lockdowns keep people from
shops and advertising revenues fall amid a declining market.
The multinational group nevertheless confirmed its full-year
targets, which include revenue and EBITDA growth.
Franco-Israeli billionaire Drahi has offered to take the
firm private in a deal valuing the group at 4.9 billion euros,
but a minority shareholder has called the offer too low and
Deutsche Bank analyst Robert Grindle said that the improved
profitability would further convince investors that the problems
Altice Europe had over the year were temporary.
"It will make them more aggrieved in their view that the
offer is lower than they would wish for," he said.
Drahi did not comment on the proposed buyout ahead of the
publication of the offer's details.
His offer comes after years of investor scrutiny over Altice
Europe's high debt levels, which have weighed on its share
price, although the company had recently chipped away at that
burden and has gained traction with subscribers in France.
The Amsterdam-listed company said it had repaid 1.4 billion
euros since April 2020, bringing its net debt to 28.9 billion
euros at the end of the quarter.
Rivals such as France's Orange, Iliad and
Bouygues Telecom also posted third-quarter growth
despite lost roaming fees under resurging COVID-19 restrictions.
($1 = 0.8445 euros)
(Reporting by Sarah Morland and Aida Pelaez-Fernandez in
Gdansk; Editing by Edmund Blair and Tom Brown)