By Sara Webb
THE HAGUE, April 10 Dutch telecoms operator KPN
, in which Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's America
Movil took nearly 28 percent last year, could launch
its 3 billion-euro ($3.9 billion) rights issue soon after
publishing quarterly results on April 23, its CEO said on
Eelco Blok said KPN needed to see the market's reaction to
its first-quarter results first but might then publish its
prospectus for the rights issue.
"It is possible," Blok told Reuters. "But of course we need
to see the reaction of the share price to the Q1 results. We
have the possibility. You never know what can happen."
Analysts expect the company to report earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the first
quarter of 971 million euros, according to Thomson Reuters
StarMine SmartEstimates, down from 1.1 billion euros in the same
period a year ago.
As expected, shareholders approved KPN's planned capital
hike at its annual meeting on Wednesday, giving it until June 30
to launch the rights issue, which is intended to reduce debt.
KPN has already raised 2 billion euros from the sale of
Shareholders on Wednesday also voted in favour of the
appointment to KPN's supervisory board of two executives from
America Movil - Chief Financial Officer Carlos Garcia Moreno and
Chief Operating Officer Oscar von Hauske.
But KPN's management came in for sharp criticism from
shareholders, both retail and institutional, over the firm's
poor performance and the handling of the Mexican giant's tender
offer last year.
Moreno told Reuters the Mexican firm and KPN have already
discussed ways to work together in areas such as procurement
because they share several vendors, and reiterated that America
Movil's interest in KPN was strategic.
"We have very long-term objectives," he said: "Europe is
going to recover."
America Movil is sitting on a substantial paper loss on its
investment in KPN as the shares which it bought in its tender
offer at 8 euros hit a low of 2.5 euros on March 1. On Wednesday
the share price closed up 5.25 percent at 2.8 euros.
America Movil's share price has also been hard hit, and
Garcia Moreno told Reuters the company had a policy of buying
back shares in response to declines in the price.
But asked whether the group would consider selling assets in
response to new telecoms rules in Mexico, he said it was "too
early" to comment.
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in
December, has said he wants to increase competition in the
telecoms market and has presented a plan for sweeping reforms
which has been backed by Mexico's lower house and is now before