Netherlands-based fixed and mobile operator KPN has returned to profit, reporting a net income of EUR2.7 billion for the full year 2003, compared to a loss of EUR9.54 million previously. Total operating revenues increased by 0.3% during the year to EUR12.2 billion, with revenues from the fixed line division increasing by 0.3% to EUR7.4 billion, and those at the mobile unit growing by 8.5% to EUR5.1 billion. EBITDA increased by 13.2% to EUR4.96 billion, while net debt decreased from EUR12.4 billion to EUR8.3 billion. The telco said the return to profit was aided by a cost cutting scheme undertaken during the year, as well as a EUR1.08 billion tax windfall which was gained from the restructuring of its German unit E-Plus.
KPN said that most of the gains were seen in its broadband and mobile divisions, particularly its ADSL and i-mode offerings. At the end of 2003 it claimed a total of 14.66 million mobile subscribers, up from 13.44 million the previous year. Of the total, 8.2 million were held by E-Plus, 5.2 million at its domestic operation KPN Netherlands, and 1.2 million at BASE in Belguim. i-Mode subscribers stood at 868,000 at the same date, up from 236,000 the previous year. The operator had hoped to hit the one million subscriber mark for i-mode by the end of the year, but celebrated a belated one millionth customer on 20 February, not too far behind schedule. ADSL subscribers grew from 310,000 to 746,000, although fixed lines in service dropped to 7.67 million from 7.85 million the previous year, 1.56 million of which were ISDN lines.
Meanwhile, last Wednesday KPN approached UK-based cellco mmO2 regarding a friendly takeover bid, but this was rejected by mmO2’s board within 48 hours. KPN had hoped that a takeover would enable it to gain a footing in the UK market, as well as generate savings in Germany, where both companies currently operate competing networks. Although the talks between the two companies have collapsed, KPN has refused to rule out a hostile takeover bid for mmO2, but officials close to the UK cellco have said that there is no chance of this going ahead.