February 20, 2014 / 8:26 AM / 4 years ago

Polish telecoms firm Netia warns of profit fall, CEO resigns

WARSAW, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Netia, Poland’s second-biggest telecoms firm, warned operating profits were set to drop sharply this year as revenue continues to fall and also announced the resignation of Chief Executive Miroslaw Godlewski after seven years at the helm.

The group, which under Godlewski’s direction consolidated its position behind market leader Orange Polska with a series of takeovers, posted results for 2013 in line with its previous forecast but said operating profits this year are expected to fall 32 percent to 75 million zlotys ($25 million).

The company gave no reasons for Godlewski’s resignation.

It’s underlying operating profit last year was little changed from the previous year at 111 million zlotys but revenue fell 12 percent to 1.876 billion zlotys, more than double the pace of decline for the whole market.

Analysts expect the market to pick up after years of revenue declines caused by regulatory cuts in prices and competition, but not before next year.

This year Netia, which generated around 44 percent of its sales in 2013 from the declining market for voice services, expects revenue to be down by a further 7.5 percent at 1.735 billion zlotys.

The group is aiming to divide its business into individual and corporate client sectors, a move which some analysts see as a prelude to a possible sale by its biggest shareholders, which include Polish pension funds and investment firms Third Avenue Management and SISU Capital.

Netia, long-touted as a possible takeover target, has been linked to Deutsche Telekom’s local unit, but last year the German group already bought GTS Central Europe. ($1=3.0307 Polish Zlotys) (Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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