November 9, 2012 / 9:06 AM / in 5 years

Telekom Austria focus on growth, not retrenching-CEO

VIENNA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Telekom Austria will focus on growth, not retrenching, when senior officials meet next week to lay out corporate strategy, Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter told a newspaper.

“If no unforeseen events emerge we will make a triple-digit-million (euro) profit this year so it’s not a question of restructuring, but rather of growth,” he said in an interview published on Friday by Die Presse. He did not elaborate.

Ametsreiter is under pressure to perform after the company slashed its dividend in September and as Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim eyes a return on his 26 percent stake.

Ametsreiter said the company was not discussing at this point any potential capital increase to help finance growth.

He said he expected single-digit growth in eastern European markets to help offset a “very difficult” situation in the hypercompetitive mobile market in Austria.

“We are the only telecoms group in Europe that has been able to turn around the fixed-line business. We will stabilise sales this year for the first time in 15 years. That is a sensation,” he said.

Austria is one of Europe’s toughest telecoms markets, with four operators - Telekom Austria, T-Mobile, Orange and Hutchison 3G - fighting over a population of little more than 8 million. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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