While Cesky Telecom presents its Q3 2002 results on October 31 (at 2 p.m. CET), Eurotel (the No. 1 domestic cellular operator, 51% owned by Cesky Telecom) presented its main Q3 figures yesterday. These confirmed that the subsidiary’s double-digit growth period is indeed over, but were approx. in line with results from recent previous quarters.
CZK mil. Q3 2001 Q3 2002 % change
Sales 22,522 21,220 -5.78%
EBITDA 10,492 10,786 2.80%
Net income 4,951 5,076 2.52%
The decline in revenues is attributable to lower equipment sales (-51% due to the deceleration of penetration growth) and lower interconnection revenues (partly due to a 26% interconnection-fee reduction by the regulator). This decline was partially offset by an 8% increase in service revenues, which were driven mostly by increased traffic (15%). Reduction in subscriber acquisition costs, advertisement & media expenses, and general procurement resulted in a EBITDA margin growth, from 47% in Q3 2001 to 51% in Q3 2002. The company management expects 2002 net income to post low-single-digit growth; 2001 net reached CZK 6.07 bil.
Interestingly, Eurotel CEO T. Valeski said the company is prepared to possibly acquire a target, form a joint venture, or form some other form of strategic partnership with a company in Slovakia, Poland, Austria, or Germany. We believe there is no concrete plan at present and that the CEO’s comments represent a general indication of possible future strategy.
Moreover, we believe that, while investors’ focus is now squarely on Cesky Telecom privatization, issues surrounding Eurotel are likely to drive the stock price after the privatization is completed.