UPDATE 1-Magyar Telekom lifts 2014 EBITDA guidance, sees maximum 3 pct drop

Thu Aug 7, 2014 1:38am EDT

* Q2 net profit 11.6 bln forints, above expectations

* Expects maximum 3 pct y/y fall in EBITDA vs pvs 3-6 pct

* Quarterly revenues down 3.3 pct, broadly in line with forecasts (Adds detail on quarterly results, share price)

BUDAPEST, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Magyar Telekom improved its guidance on Thursday for 2014 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to a decline of no more than 3 percent from last year versus a 3-6 percent fall projected earlier.

"The raising of EBITDA guidance is predominantly driven by our efforts to improve gross margin, along with the slight improvement that we are witnessing in the household spending power in Hungary," Chief Executive Christopher Mattheisen said in the company's earnings note.

Last year EBITDA came in at 179.5 billion forints ($761.21 million). The company left its revenue and capital expenditure guidance unchanged.

For the second quarter, the Deutsche Telekom unit reported net profit of 11.6 billion forints, a 5.1 percent decline year-on-year, that beat market expectations.

Analysts surveyed by financial news website portfolio.hu had expected net profit to fall by 12.2 percent from last year to 10.7 billion forints.

Quarterly revenues dropped by 3.3 percent to 151.8 billion forints, broadly in line with market expectations.

The decline was driven by lower income from the fixed-line and mobile voice segments as well as in energy re-sale after the government imposed cuts in household gas and electricity prices, the company said.

It said lower equipment sales also dented top-line growth.

"The persistent competitive challenges in Macedonia and the macroeconomic and regulatory headwinds in Montenegro also negatively impacted the revenue performance," Mattheisen added.

But second-quarter EBITDA was broadly unchanged, down 0.3 percent at 49.6 billion forints, as the company could largely offset a rising sectoral tax bill by higher gross margins in the energy and systems integration/information technology segments.

Magyar Telekom, which has a market capitalisation of $1.6 billion, said last month it would lay off up to 1,700 workers by 2016 at a cost of about 12 billion forints to improve its efficiency.

The company's shares have gained 10.4 percent over the past three months according to Thomson Reuters data, outperforming the Budapest blue chip index, which fell 1.8 percent over that period. (1 US dollar = 235.8100 Hungarian forint) (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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