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MOBISTAR: Upgrade to Hold

MOBISTAR: Upgrade to Hold

18.10.2011 9:23

Mobistar will release its 3Q11 results on Thursday 20 October before market, followed by a conf call at 10am CET. We expect another difficult quarter for Mobistar, and predict a 4% drop in EBITDA. Since the fall in the share price, Mobistar’s challenges seem to be better reflected in the current valuation, while the speculative premium related to a buy-out of the minorities by France Telecom (13,04 EUR, 0,04%) has disappeared. As a consequence we up our rating to Hold from Reduce. We adjust our target to € 44 from € 47 due to lower peer group multiples.

Our View:
Profits remain under pressure: As in the previous quarter, regulation (lower MTRs and lower roaming rates) and competitive pressure will weigh on service revenues and EBITDA as will investments in the Starpack offer. We arrive at 0.5% lower revenues and a 4% drop in EBITDA. Net profit is forecast to fall 7%. Our forecasts are in line with consensus expectations. We forecast 8k mobile adds (ex-MVNO) and we expect Mobistar to report a total TV subscriber base of 30k at quarter-end, implying about 9k net adds during the period. The consensus is looking for 15k mobile adds and 6k adds for TV.
FY outlook: At the 2Q11 release, Mobistar reiterated its FY outlook, hinting at stable sales, € 505/535m in EBITDA, and € 210/230m in net income. Our and consensus forecasts are at the high end of this guidance, and Mobistar might slightly up the profit guidance we believe.

Conclusion:
Lower target but rating upped to Hold from Reduce: we have cut our target to € 44 from € 47 on the back of lower peer group multiples. After the steep fall in the share price, we upgrade to a Hold rating from Reduce. Mobistar’s challenges remain (Mobistar is a mobile-focussed player in a converging world) but at 5.4x EV/EBITDA (down from 6.5x EBITDA a few months ago), the current valuation now reflects this more accurately, as the speculative premium linked to a buy-out by France Telecom has disappeared. At the current share price, Mobistar offers a 9% gross dividend yield.


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