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29 Nov 2010
Madrid, November 29, 2010 -- The stable outlook for EMEA incumbent telecommunications service providers
is supported by their resilient operating cash flow and the likelihood
that they will resume revenue growth as economies recover from the global
downturn, says Moody's Investors Service in an Industry Outlook
published today. The report explores Moody's expectations
for the fundamental credit conditions in the industry over the next 12-18
"Recent cost-cutting measures, largely comprising staff
reductions, have resulted in more efficient operating structures.
In line with our expectations for GDP growth and renewed consumer spending,
we believe that EMEA telecom companies will be able to maintain solid
cash flow and margins," explains Carlos Winzer, a Moody's
Senior Vice President, and lead author of the report.
"The pace of growth will, however, remain slow.
In 2010, EMEA telecom operators' revenue was flat, and
in our view it will increase at a compound annual growth rate of between
1%-3% between 2011-2013. The pace of
growth will be slow because of the expected slow macroeconomic recovery,
as well as the mature nature of the industry combined with competitive
and regulatory pressures. At the lowest point in the downturn in
Q3-Q4 2009, revenue among European operators fell by almost
5% on average," adds Mr. Winzer.
However, the report notes that capital expenditures will begin to
trend higher as companies resume their network expansion plans and increase
broadband capacity, rather than focusing on capex efficiencies as
they did during the downturn. Moody's expects their leverage
to remain moderate, with average debt-to-EBITDA ratios
of between 2.0x and 3.0x for investment-grade issuers.
Recent bolt-on and small cross-border M&A and joint-venture
activity has been fuelled by returning economic stability, inexpensive
financing, existing financial flexibility and low near-term
growth expectations. Moody's believes that this activity
is likely to continue, and does not expect large M&A amongst
incumbents in the near future. This is because governments in Europe
have become highly protectionist after the recent crisis and consider
telecoms as a strategic asset.
Emerging markets continue to represent good growth opportunities as broadband
and mobile penetration in some countries remains low and prices and margins
high. Network sharing and other collaborative agreements are also
likely to continue to emerge as a response to the sector's high
Moody's report, entitled "Industry Outlook EMEA Telecoms:
Service Providers Poised To Benefit as Economies Improve", is available
NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information please contact New
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City +5255-1253-5700; Daniel Rúas in Buenos
Aires +54 11-4816-2332 ext. 105; Leon Classen
in Johannesburg +27-11-217-5470; Jehad
el-Nakla in Dubai +971 4 237 9536; or visit our web site
Senior Vice President
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Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
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Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
Moody's: EMEA telecoms to benefit as economies improve
Barbara de Braganza, 2
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