I Disagree With The Bear Thesis - Mobile TeleSystems Is A Tremendous Opportunity
Paulo Santos • 12 Comments
Paulo Santos • 12 Comments
Mobile TeleSystems: Too Risky Despite Low Valuation
John Zhang • 10 Comments
John Zhang • 10 Comments
Thu, May 19, 1:39 PM
- Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) is 2.4% lower in U.S. trading after Q1 earnings where OIBDA beat expectations but per-share earnings came up short.
- In GAAP terms, EPS of 7.29 rubles was well short of an estimated 10.95 rubles (one estimate). Revenues grew nearly 8%; revenue in Russia was up 6.5%, to 96.3B rubles. "We continue to see sustained demand for data throughout our key markets, which continues to drive growth in both Russia and Ukraine."
- Free cash flow came to 20.5B rubles (up 37%); with cash flow from operations stable, the gain came as capex fell 28% to 18B rubles.
- It says the board has tasked management to consider a share repurchase program that could allocate up to 30B rubles (about $448M) for a three-year plan.
- The company reiterated its full-year guidance for group revenue growth of more than 4% (in line with expectations), adjusted OIBDA growth of -2% to 1% (vs. expected -0.6%), and cutting capex to 85B rubles.
- Press Release
Mon, Mar. 21, 10:47 AM
- Russian telecom Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) is up 4.9% after beating expectations with Q4 earnings where revenues grew nearly 6% though operating profit fell.
- Adjusted OIBDA slipped 1.9% and operating profit fell off 17.4%. Net profit grew to 7.14B rubles from the previous 1.38B rubles, though.
- Active subscribers grew 3.5% in 2015, to 107.8M. Data traffic revenue in Russia was up 19.8% (to 77.2B rubles), and handset sales in Russia rose 37.4% (to 40.3B rubles).
- The company forecast a revenue increase of more than 4% this year, but new competition could drive core profits down. It guided to OIBDA growth ranging from -2% to 1% in 2016.
- Adjusted OIBDA margin fell to 40.7% last year.
- Conference call to begin at 11 a.m. ET.
- Press Release
Fri, Mar. 11, 10:14 AM
- Russian telecom Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) is up 3.2%, rebounding from a downgrade by Citigroup.
- Shares fell 5.7% yesterday. Citigroup had cut its rating to Neutral, with a price target of $8, just 3.6% over Wednesday's close of $7.72. They're currently trading at $7.51
- Moody's has placed its ratings of MTS on review for downgrade, following its action a week ago to put Russia's government bond and issuer ratings on review for downgrade among further declines in oil prices and "heightened vulnerability" of Russia's public finances.
- The ratings agency is reviewing the telecom's corporate family rating (now Ba1) and its probability of default rating (now Ba1-PD).
Fri, Mar. 11, 9:17 AM
Mon, Jan. 4, 6:34 PM
- In its look at telecoms in emerging markets, Renaissance Capital says video could bring new growth -- and the sector may be a place to target dividends.
- "Telcos are jumping too late on the fast moving Internet train," the analysts write. "Video could be the ‘next big thing’ for mobile telcos and the step-up jump in usage (rather than a gradual shift) creates the possibility that this will translate into revenues."
- That growth, though, is likely going to fall victim to competition in no more than 12 months, they say.
- RenCap thinks the growth outlook is best in Turkey, as Russia and MENA face macro headwinds. In Turkey, the firm prefers Turk Telekom (OTC:TRKNY) to Turkcell (TKC -2.1%): “Ultimately a telecom (as with any other sector) is as good as its dividend stream is. On this metric we estimate [Turk Telekom] could be worth TRL5.8/share if all allowable earnings adjusted for availability of cash are paid out as dividends, and assuming the market would be happy with an 11.5% yield – 10.5% versus Turkish local bonds."
- Meanwhile, in Russia the firm likes Mobile TeleSytems (MBT -2.8%) and Sistema over VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP), and it highlights MTN Group (OTCPK:MTNOY -1.4%) in South Africa, though noting that firm's huge Nigerian fine shows that developing countries present regulatory risk and "become inventive when it comes to enhancing state coffers.”
Dec. 18, 2015, 11:08 AM
- Russian telecom market rivals VimpelCom (VIP +5.3%) and Mobile TeleSystems (MBT +1.9%) have come together in an expanded deal to share 4G LTE frequencies in 20 regions of the large country.
- The two have amended a late-2014 agreement to share airwaves, providing that the two will jointly use 2.6 GHz frequencies in 20 of the 36 regions from that agreement.
- The new deal is for a six-year term, extendable for a longer term and able to be expanded with more regions. It provides for a doubling of peak customer data speeds in the long term to 150 Mbps with average speeds growing along the way.
Nov. 25, 2015, 6:55 PM
- While VimpelCom (VIP +6.8%) got a boost today on news that it may be close to settling with the U.S. in an Uzbekistan corruption probe, TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +2.2%) may be facing a bigger headache as the U.S. looks to extend the probe into other markets, according to Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.
- Danske Bank analysts think the company could now be facing compensation claims of 15B kronor ($1.72B), triple what they had expected before.
- The probe is reportedly widening to TeliaSonera's activities in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and even Nepal.
- Other companies besides VimpelCom and TeliaSonera -- Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) and Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY) -- are linked to dealings with Takilant, the company tied to Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov.
Nov. 25, 2015, 6:32 PM
- VimpelCom (VIP +6.8%) is looking at stable debt even with ongoing dollar risks, Fitch says, giving the Russia-focused telecom a BB+ Issuer Default Rating with stable outlook.
- While VimpelCom's debt is moderate and declining, 71% is in U.S. currency, which may increase costs for Amsterdam-based VimpelCom as the U.S. raises rates.
- VimpelCom's interests in Italy's Wind are "highly leveraged but ring-fenced," the firm says.
- Fitch expects VimpelCom to stay a strong mobile player in Russia despite competition from Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT), Millicom (OTCPK:MIICF) and Megafon (OTC:MFOYY): "Although its market share has been on a steady decline over the three years to 2014, a catch-up in capex should allow it to compete on a more level playing field with its larger peers."
- Shares finished strong today after a report the company may be near a settlement with U.S. authorities related to an Uzbekistan corruption probe.
- Previously: VimpelCom up 2.4% on report it's near $775M U.S. settlement (Nov. 25 2015)
Nov. 17, 2015, 9:38 AM
- Leading Russian telecom Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) is up 4.6% after Q3 revenue beat expectations by about 3% and the company raised expectations for future growth.
- Overall Group revenue rose 7.4% to 115B rubles; revenue in Russia was up 4.7% to 103.9B rubles. Mobile service was up 1% to 78B rubles; data traffic up 20.2% to RUB 20.6B, and handset sales up 58.8% to RUB 12.6B.
- Free cash flow for the nine months was RUB 29.2B; capex was RUB 73.1B. The company says it isn't making a provision for the probes by the SEC and U.S. DOJ regarding its business in Uzbekistan.
- It's raised guidance for overall group revenue and Russia revenue to more than 4% growth, and reiterated Group OIBDA margin guidance for more than 40%.
Oct. 14, 2015, 10:39 AM
- Moody's is raising its outlook for Europe's telecoms to stable as it predicts a return to revenue growth overall, amid growing consumer demand and spending capacity, and price increases.
- The firm expects revenues overall to grow by 1-2% over the next 12-18 months.
- "Increasing demand for broadband, improved consumer spending capacity and a change in focus from price competition to service quality leading to price increases will underpin European telecommunications service providers' return to revenue growth in 2016," says Moody's analyst Carlos Winzer.
- He pointed to Telefonica (TEF -1.6%), whose ARPU was up sequentially to €71.80/month from €68.80/month and who's rolling out premium packages at premium prices. Moody's expects positive ARPU for Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) amid similar premium pricing.
- Despite a stable outlook on the Africa, Middle East and Turkish markets, slowing GDP in some countries (including Nigeria and those on the Arabian peninsula) could press revenue growth.
- The outlook on Russia's big three, however -- Mobile TeleSystems (MBT +2.1%), MegaFon (OTC:MFOYY) and VimpelCom (VIP +0.8%) -- stays negative amid the Russian economic crisis.
Sep. 23, 2015, 5:04 PM
- Russia is set to auction 1800-MHz wireless airwaves next week, and has processed applications for the country's four main mobile operators to participate.
- Mobile TeleSystems (MBT -2.1%), VimpelCom (VIP -1.5%), Megafon (OTC:MFOYY) and Tele2 (OTCPK:TLTZY) are certified to take part in the electronic auction. Russia is selling spectrum in nine regions.
- While the band was previously set aside for voice communication, there are no restrictions on usage of airwaves won in the auction, and the country's Roscomnadzor regulator expects winners will put LTE to work in the band.
Aug. 13, 2015, 6:28 PM
- U.S. prosecutors are pursuing the seizure of $1B in assets tied to a criminal corruption probe of Uzbekistan, to which they've linked foreign telecoms VimpelCom (VIP -1.9%), Mobile TeleSystems (MBT -2.5%) and TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +1.4%).
- Authorities think the firms (based in the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden respectively) sent hundreds of millions of dollars to business controlled by Gulnara Karimova, daughter to Uzbek President Islam Karimov, to secure wireless spectrum there.
- The U.S. is asking European banks to assist in grabbing the funds, part of a recently more aggressive push against foreign corruption by the U.S. -- which has jurisdiction with regard to VimpelCom and MTS since they trade on U.S. exchanges.
- TeliaSonera delisted about 10 years ago, but could be involved if its deals used the U.S. financial system. Its CEO Lars Nyberg resigned in 2013 amid criticism of the company's Uzbekistan investment.
- Earlier this year in the same probe, the U.S. pursued seizing some $300M in accounts in Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Authorities think Gulnara Karimova is the beneficial owner of the $1B they're seeking.
Jul. 17, 2015, 2:13 PM
Jul. 9, 2015, 11:27 AM
- Russian telecom VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is leading the Nasdaq 100 gainers, +5.8% and largely making up heavy losses yesterday.
- While most analysts advocate Hold ratings on the shares, consensus price target of $5.56 implies 14% upside from here.
- The stock had managed to swim against peers in pulling off a Tuesday gain before sinking in the postmarket that day.
- Also rebounding strong today: competitor Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT), up 4.4%.
- Previously: VimpelCom among top postmarket decliners, down 3.7% (Jul. 07 2015)
- Previously: VimpelCom Zimbabwe unit cutting employee costs by 25% (Jul. 06 2015)
Jul. 7, 2015, 6:16 PM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is among top postmarket decliners, off 3.7% after hours on a big block that came through in the past hour.
- Shares gained 1.2% in the regular session today, bucking regional industry peers including Mobile TeleSystems (MBT -2.5%) and MiMES Rostelekom (OTCQX:ROSYY -3.5%).
- The Amsterdam-based company noted today that it's joined Nederland ICT, a trade organization for more than 550 info-tech, telecom and Internet companies in the Netherlands. The move should foster better relationships with in-country peers and help develop home-grown talent for the sectors.
- Previously: U.S. piles in to bribery probe of Russian phone firms (Jun. 30 2015)
Jun. 30, 2015, 10:01 AM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is flat, and Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) up 1.2%, as the two Russian phone companies end up in U.S. crosshairs over a bribery conspiracy investigation.
- The U.S. Justice Dept. is joining an existing list of European countries in looking to seize $300M held by a relative of Uzbekistan's president, Islam Karimov -- the proceeds of what it says were funneled bribes for access to the Uzbek telecom market.
- The U.S. says VimpelCom and MTS used shell companies and phony consulting contracts to route money. VimpelCom said last year that its Dutch headquarters had been raided by prosecutors and that the SEC had sought documents then.
Mobile TeleSystems PJSC provides a range of mobile and fixed line voice and data telecommunications services in Russia and the CIS. It operates through the Russia Convergent, Moscow Fixed Line, and Ukraine business segments. The Russia Convergent segment provides mobile and fixed-line voice and... More
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