KPN posts record net loss but sees progress

AMSTERDAM: Dutch telecoms group KPN reported yesterday a record 2002 net loss of 9.54 billion euros, but posted a robust core profit that underlined its strong operational performance last year. 

Despite posting the biggest corporate loss ever by a Dutch company due to huge charges mainly related to its mobile business, KPN beat its own forecast for core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), which rose 22% to 4.38 billion euros. 

But KPN, which has been slashing costs and unloading assets, gave a conservative forecast for 2003, saying it expected the closely watched EBITDA to grow by only about 5%. 

The core results underline a strong comeback for the telecoms operator, which nearly collapsed under a mountain of debt in 2001, but is returning to health thanks to deep cost cutting and reduced aspirations. 

“KPN continues on the road to recovery,” chief executive Ad Scheepbouwer said in a statement. “The actions taken have dramatically reduced the financial risks recently associated with KPN. In 2003, we look forward to continuing the progress in restoring the overall profitability of the business.” 

The group's operating revenues fell 1.6% to 12.17 billion euros last year mainly due to sale of non-core assets. Exceptional items totalled 9.38 billion euros. – Reuters  

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