UPDATE 1-Egypt's Global Telecom losses rise after Canadian writedown

Thu Mar 6, 2014 4:44am EST

Cairo, March 6 (Reuters) - Global Telecom, the Egypt-based group formerly called Orascom Telecom, has fallen deeper into the red after taking a multi-million dollar impairment charge on its Canadian business following the latter's withdrawal from a 4G spectrum auction.

The group's results coincided with earnings from 51.9 percent owner Vimpelcom, which were also impacted by events at the Canadian unit Wind Mobile.

Global Telecom said its fourth-quarter net loss rose 59 percent from a year ago to $749 million, blaming currency factors as well as the Canadian writedown, and propelling its full-year loss to $924 million, a 349 percent increase on 2012.

Quarterly revenue fell to $834 million from $908 million.

In a statement Global Telecom said it had written down its Canadian business by $619 million.

"(Global Telecom) has fully impaired its assets in Canada, mainly due to the challenges the company is facing in the country and the lack of clarity on the path for (the Canadian unit) ... to acquire the spectrum that it needs to execute its long-term plan," the statement said.

Wind Mobile withdrew from the Canadian auction in January after Vimpelcom decided not to fund its participation, putting Wind in a difficult spot as operators seek the airwaves needed to support booming demand for mobile data.

Wind is Canada's fourth-largest operator but trails far behind the top three. Global Telecom has a 65 percent indirect equity ownership in Wind Mobile.