* To raise 2012/13 dividend to 2.50 euro/shr from 1.50
* Q3 adj. EBITDA 220.3 mln euros vs 219 mln expected
* Keeps 2012/13 outlook
* Shares rise 2.5 pct, outperforming sector
By Harro Ten Wolde
FRANKFURT, Feb 20 Kabel Deutschland
intends to hike its dividend by 67 pct and increase investment
as funds became available after plans to buy peer Tele Columbus
Shares in Germany's biggest cable operator rose 2.5 percent
in early trade on Wednesday amid speculation the move could be
part of its strategy to deal with a potential bid from UK based
mobile company Vodafone.
Kabel Deutschland said it would raise its dividend to 2.50
euros ($3.34) per share for the fiscal year ending in March, up
from 1.50 euros in the previous year.
It said its failed attempt to buy peer Tele Columbus for 618
million euros would free up money for the higher dividend as
well as for extra investments.
Kabel Deutschland said on Tuesday its agreement to buy the
fellow cable operator was at risk due to German antitrust
Kabel Deutschland shares were up 2.24 percent higher at
68.88 at 0842 GMT, at the top of a 0.23 percent stronger sector
A Frankfurt-based trader said the dividend and investment
hike should be seen in the light of Vodafone's potential
"This seems the first poison pill to avert a Vodafone
takeover," he said. "The takeover battle has started."
Kabel Deutschland on Wednesday also posted earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)
excluding special items for the three months ending Dec. 31, up
10 percent from the same period a year earlier to 220 million
That was at the high end of analyst expectations in a
Reuters poll, which ranged from 217 million to 222 million
Growth was fuelled by its internet broadband as well as its
television operations, Kabel Deutschland said in a statement.
Kabel Deutschland's success in the broadband market has
caught the attention of Vodafone, the biggest mobile
operator in Germany, and the UK-based company is considering a
bid for the German company, a person familiar with Vodafone's
thinking said last week.
Vodafone is mulling an offer as it is facing a squeeze
between low-cost mobile challengers and telecom and cable rivals
increasingly pushing discounted, all-included mobile and fixed
bundles, the person said.
NO COMMENT, NO CLUE
Kabel Deutschland's Chief Financial Officer Andreas Siemen
declined to comment on Wednesday when asked whether there has
been any contact between the companies regarding a deal.
"The figures are solid but unspectacular in our view. The
dividend increase is a positive surprise," said DZ Bank analyst
Karsten Oblinger in a first reaction.
"The big question regarding the share price remains if
Vodafone will come up with a bid. Here we have no additional
clue so far."
Kabel Deutschland said it still aims to increase sales in
the current fiscal year by between 7.5 percent and 8.5 percent
and expects an adjusted EBITDA of between 855 million and 870
million euros for the period.
It also said it would invest an extra 300 million euros in
the coming two years in its network.