June 25, 2008 / 4:16 PM / 12 years ago

Telefonica reiterates 08 guidance despite slowdown

ZARAGOZA, Spain, June 25 (Reuters) - Telefonica (TEF.MC) chairman Cesar Alierta reiterated the group’s guidance for 2008 on Wednesday, despite the economic slowdown in Spain.

“Telefonica is used to swimming against the current and we’re on course to meeting our guidance for 2008,” Alierta told reporters during a conference in Zaragoza.

For the full year, the Spanish telecoms giant is forecasting a 7.5 percent to 11 percent rise in operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) on a 6 percent to 8 percent growth in revenues.

In Spain, the telecoms group aims to increase revenue by 2 percent to 3.5 percent and its OIBDA by 6 percent to 8 percent.

Alierta said that the group would meet its guidance for its three main business regions of Spain, Europe and Latin America.

On the group’s share buyback plan for 100 million shares, Alierta said Telefonica expects to bring forward its end-2008 deadline due to the recent fall in the stock’s value and a high rate of generated cash flow.

Telefonica said in May that 35.7 percent of the buyback programme had been completed on May 13.

On the group’s launch of Apple (AAPL.O) new 3G I-Phone in the United Kingdom and Spain, Alierta said some 300,000 clients had already pre-registered. Telefonica launches the smart phone in both markets on July 11.

Finally, Alierta said that due to current turbulence in world equity markets, Telefonica does not think now is the time to list its Atento call centre unit.

“Antento is a great company and we have said that we are studying listing it. But now isn’t the best time,” Alierta said. (Reporting by Robert Hetz; writing by Paul Day)

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