February 21, 2018 / 6:34 AM / 3 months ago

CORRECTED-Telefonica Deutschland sees steady 2018, plans dividend increase

(Corrects first paragraph to say dividend increase planned for 2018)

BERLIN, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Telefonica Deutschland forecast on Wednesday that revenues would stabilise in 2018 and core earnings would be flat to slightly positive, while pledging to raise its dividend this year for the third time in a row.

Germany’s No.3 mobile operator, which is nearly two-thirds owned by Spain’s Telefonica, has faced a squeeze from a regulatory clamp-down on roaming fees but, announcing fourth-quarter results, said its underlying mobile service revenues had turned positive, rising 0.8 percent.

Quarterly sales declined by 1.6 percent to 1.9 billion euros ($2.34 billion), just ahead of the 1.85 billion consensus in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Operating income before depreciation and amortisation, and before exceptional effects, rose 1.4 percent to 499 million euros, just above the average estimate of analysts.

The company, which operates under the O2 brand, bought rival E-Plus for 8.6 billion euros in 2014 and has managed to increase its core profits by tapping additional merger synergies. ($1 = 0.8496 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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