* Sees 2014 core profit flat near previous year's 886.8 mln
* Market expectation was for rise to 907 million
* Q4 core profit 222.8 mln euros vs expected 219 mln
* Says talks with Liberty have progressed
* Cannot give final dividend announcement for now
By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, Jan 24 Dutch cable group Ziggo NV
, which is in talks on a takeover by U.S. peer Liberty
Global Plc, forecast unchanged core earnings for 2014
with investments in promotions and in its new mobile service
offsetting revenue growth.
The group said there was little it could say about its talks
with Liberty, which it revealed in December. It had previously
rejected an offer as too low.
"These discussions have in the meantime progressed ... I
should also mention there is no certainty an agreement will be
reached," Chief Executive Rene Obermann told a conference call.
Ziggo also said that the discussions meant it could not
propose a final dividend, but would make a further statement
before its annual shareholders' meeting set for April 17.
Ziggo said it believed the Dutch consumer market would be
largely unchanged in 2014, with growth driven by broadband
Internet and customers taking up multiple services, along with
Ziggo Mobile and expanding business-to-business services.
Core profit looked set to be similar to the 886.8 million
euros ($1.2 billion) it earned in 2013. The average Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S forecast was for a rise to 907 million euros.
Ziggo shares, which have been propped up on expectations of
a bid, were down 0.1 percent at 33.55 euros by 0820 GMT.
The group, which listed in March 2012 and competes for
telephone, TV and broadband internet customers with the likes of
KPN, reported a 2.8 percent increase in fourth-quarter
revenue to 394 million euros.
Core profit (EBITDA) rose 2.1 percent to 222.8 million euros
against an average estimate of 219 mln.
Ziggo ended the year with 33,000 subscribers for the mobile
service that it launched in September. It added 32,000 internet
subscribers in the last quarter, making a total of 1.9 million.