* Q3 adj EBITDA 4.78 bln euros vs 4.67 bln poll
* Still sees 2012 adj EBITDA at around 18 bln euros
* Keeps 2012 dividend outlook of at least 0.70 eur/shr
* Shares up 0.2 pct, in-line with sector
By Harro Ten Wolde
FRANKFURT, Nov 8 Deutsche Telekom
bucked a trend among Europe's telecoms companies by keeping its
dividend plan for 2012 on track after better-than-expected third
But Germany's biggest telecoms firm left investors to wait
and see whether it would maintain its dividend next year. Peers
such as Telefonica, France Telecom, KPN
and Telekom Austria have already cut or
Dividends are a focus for investors in Europe's telecoms
firms, which face falling prices, greater pressure from
regulators and a drop in the use of highly profitable text
messaging as people use internet applications instead.
Chief Executive Rene Obermann said Deutsche Telekom would
present its dividend plan at investor days on Dec. 6-7.
"It's a delicate process, which involves our future
investment plans in Europe and in the United States," Obermann
told reporters on Thursday.
Financial chief Tim Hoettges pointed to the fact Deutsche
Telekom had kept its promise to pay an annual dividend of at
least 0.70 euros ($0.89) per share between 2010 and 2012 and
said he wanted to keep a solid track record.
But he declined to give further details.
Analysts are positioning for a drop. On average, they expect
a 2013 dividend payment of 0.61 euros per share or a 12 percent
cut from this year, according to a Reuters poll.
In the past month, analysts have lowered their dividend
estimates for next year by an average of 14 percent, according
to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom faces four years of costly
integration in the United States and the expense of a push for
faster networks in Germany.
"We are concerned over free cash flow and dividend risk not
only from capex in German fixed but also commercial investments
in Germany and the U.S.," said Ulrich Rathe, an analyst at
Deutsche Telekom took a 7.4 billion euro ($9.4 billion)
impairment charge for its T-Mobile USA unit, which it plans to
merge with smaller rival MetroPCS.
That pushed it to a 6.9 billion euro third-quarter net loss.
Third-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation
and amortisation (EBITDA), excluding special items, were down
2.6 percent at 4.78 billion euros ($6.1 billion), but that beat
the average forecast of 4.67 billion euros in a Reuters poll.
Deutsche Telekom shares were up 0.2 percent by 1335 GMT, in
line with the sector. They are down 4 percent this year
compared to 8 percent for the sector.
Its shares trade at a 12-month forward dividend yield of 7.1
percent, down from a current 8.2 percent. That compares to 3.5
percent for KPN, 5.4 for Telefonica and 9.5 percent for France
Deutsche Telekom kept its outlook for 2012 EBITDA, excluding
special items, to ease to around 18 billion euros from 18.7
billion last year and free cash flow of around 6 billion.