* Austrian unit takes accounting charge of 48 mln eur
* Q2 EBITDA 299 mln eur vs Reuters poll avg 320 mln eur
* Company trims 2014 revenue, capex outlook
(Adds details on net loss, underlying results, Austria)
By Georgina Prodhan
VIENNA, Aug 13 Telekom Austria said an
unexpected accounting issue overshadowed improvements at its
Austrian business and pushed it to a bigger than forecast loss
in the second quarter.
The former state monopoly, which was taken over by Carlos
Slim's America Movil last month, said new accounting
software revealed it had overestimated unbilled revenues in its
Austrian fixed-line business.
This led to a one-off adjustment to turnover of 48 million
euros and a negative effect on net profit of 28 million euros,
in the second piece of bad news since Slim launched the takeover
offer that brought him a 51 percent stake.
Telekom Austria, which Slim wants to use as a platform for
expansion in central and eastern Europe (CEE), wrote down its
Bulgarian unit by 400 million euros in June, while the takeover
offer was in progress.
The writedown and the accounting problem pushed it to a net
loss of 359 million euros in the quarter from a profit of 52
million euros a year earlier.
The company's shares were little changed in early trading in
The company trimmed its full-year guidance, saying it now
expected 2014 sales to fall by about 3.5 percent instead of 3
percent, and capital expenditure in the range of 650-700 million
euros instead of 700 million euros ($936 million).
Telekom Austria is active in seven CEE countries: Austria,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Belarus, Slovenia, Serbia and Macedonia.
Second-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation
and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 9 percent to 299 million euros,
while revenue fell 8 percent to 963 million euros, missing the
average estimates in a Reuters poll.
The declines were worse than in the first quarter, when
Telekom Austria had begun to slow a profit decline with cost
cuts and tariff hikes in its main, domestic market. EBITDA last
quarter fell 5 percent and revenue 7 percent.
Excluding the accounting charge and other one-off effects,
Telekom Austria said it would have had an EBITDA increase of 6
percent in its Austrian business, despite losing 5 percent of
its mobile customers due to the tariff increases.
It is trying to focus on its high-value customers and make
them pay more for the increasing amounts of data they use.
Telekom Austria shares, which have been buoyed by Slim's
7.15 euros-per-share offer that shareholders may still accept,
were barely changed at 7.14 euros in early trading.
(1 US dollar = 0.7478 euro)
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)