Tue, Mar. 17, 9:00 AM
- The ruble's slide isn't sparing top Russian telecom Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT), as its Q4 profits slid nearly 92% in Q4.
- Group revenues of 107.2B rubles were still up 2.3% and beat an expected 105.8B rubles. Regionally the company saw strength in Russia (revenue up 4.1%) and Turkmenistan but still is experiencing "sustained weakness" in Ukraine amid political unrest.
- MTS also says it's taking a 5.1B ruble loss on a deposit at Ukraine's Delta Bank, which was declared insolvent March 3.
- The company has opened a (non-revolving) line of credit with Sberbank for 50B rubles.
- For 2015, MTS says group revenue may increase more than 2% while OIBDA margin will be greater than 40%. Capex expected will be about 85B rubles.
- Press release
Tue, Mar. 17, 8:17 AM
Tue, Mar. 10, 9:56 AM
- Russian and ruble-affected telecoms are off again as the ruble's down another 1.7% against the dollar today: VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is down 5.8%; Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) down 4%; Turkcell (NYSE:TKC) down 2.1%.
- After hitting a low on Feb. 1, the ruble has regained some ground against the dollar, set back some by the past couple of days.
- A report in Zimbabwe's The Herald paper says that Telecel -- 60% owned by VimpelCom and up for sale -- is worth only $50M rather than the $200M valuation that sale runner Barclays has assigned to it, calling the firm "practically bankrupt."
Wed, Feb. 25, 8:26 AM
- VimpelCom's (NASDAQ:VIP) Q4 revenue came in slightly to the upside of expectations at $4.39B, but the firm was hit by currency headwinds in posting a net loss of $0.53/share and a net loss of $691M for the year.
- EBITDA off $1.6B was about 7% off of expectations and down organically 8%.
- "We expect the operating environment to remain difficult in 2015, however I am confident that we have the right strategy to deliver on our targets," says CEO Jo Lunder.
- Facing the effects on the ruble and Ukraine's hryvnia, the firm will switch to negotiating vendor contracts in dollars.
- For 2015, the company expects service revenue to be anywhere from flat to a low-single-digit organic decline, and EBITDA flat to -1%. EPS is expected to come in at $0.35-$0.40.
- VimpelCom had announced an agreement with MTS (NYSE:MBT) to jointly plan, develop and operate 4G/LTE networks in Russia over the next few years.
- Press release
Tue, Feb. 24, 10:50 AM
- Units that are part of Russian mobile firms VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) and Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) have joined Turkcell (NYSE:TKC) in winning 3G licenses in Ukraine.
- The Russian firms protected some market position despite a signal from Ukraine that it would favor non-Russian firms in an effort to break up their dominance. VimpelCom's Kyivstar is the biggest carrier in the country, with 42% share.
- The companies praised the transparency of the auction process.
- In current trading: MBT +3.5%; VIP -1%; TKC -0.4%.
- Previously: Turkcell unit wins 3G spectrum in Ukraine (Feb. 23 2015)
Mon, Feb. 23, 11:09 AM
- Yandex (YNDX -4.6%), Qiwi (QIWI -8.2%), VimpelCom (VIP -5.7%), and MTS (MBT -7.9%) are seeing fresh selling pressure after Moody's joined S&P in downgrading Russia's debt rating to junk, and the U.S. and U.K. raised the prospect of fresh Ukraine-related sanctions.
- Yandex is now down 3% from where it traded before providing better-than-feared Q4 results and Q1 guidance last Wednesday. Qiwi hasn't yet posted its Q4 report.
Tue, Feb. 17, 6:49 PM
- Goldman Sachs upgraded Turkish telecom Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri (NYSE:TKC) to Buy, from its previous rating of Neutral.
- Its move (along with Citi's price target hike) is a rare bit of analyst sunshine after shares faced downgrades the past few months.
- The stock continues to be responsive to ruble moves; today shares were down 1.7% despite Goldman's upgrade, as today the ruble slipped to 63.41/dollar.
- The company cited currency losses from its operations in Ukraine and Belarus in explaining net income that dropped by half.
- Other ruble-related telecoms: (VIP -2.6%), (MBT -2.7%)
Tue, Feb. 17, 10:02 AM
- Talks are gaining steam between Hutchison Whampoa and VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) to merge their Italian wireless operations.
- There's no deal yet but a source says Hutchison's smaller 3 Italia (No. 4 of four competitors) would buy Wind Telecomunicazioni, VimpelCom's unit, in order to challenge market leader Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI).
- Il Giornale says managers for the two firms were meeting in London and a deal could be announced as soon as today.
- VIP currently -6.3%; MBT -3.4%, TKC -1.7% as the ruble sits at 63.14/dollar.
Fri, Feb. 13, 9:15 AM| 3 Comments
Thu, Feb. 12, 9:48 AM
- A ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine will go into effect on Feb. 15. Russia's MICEX Index is up 2%, and the ruble has risen moderately against the dollar - the exchange rate is currently 66.2.
- Yandex (YNDX +3.3%), Qiwi (QIWI +5.9%), and MTS (MBT +3.6%) are responding well to the news. The companies also posted big gains last week.
- This morning, Qiwi announced a partnership with Russian carrier MegaFon to offer a co-branded version of Qiwi's digital wallet. A 0.5% cash rebate is provided for payments made using the wallet.
Thu, Feb. 5, 12:14 PM
- Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) is having another volatile day, up 12.3% now after analysts at Macquarie upgrade the stock to Neutral from Underperform.
- The shares also got an upgrade last week from Deutsche Bank, who raise the stock to Buy from Hold and raised price target to $12.70, from $9.00. MBT's currently trading at $9.77.
- MBT -- and Russian peer VimpelCom (VIP +6.9%) -- have been very sensitive to trading of the ruble, which is up slightly today at 66.65/dollar.
Tue, Feb. 3, 3:40 PM
- Another ruble gain, another up day for ruble-related telecoms as VimpelCom (VIP +12.1%), Mobile Telesystems (MBT +11.6%) and MiMES Rostelekom (OTCQX:ROSYY +3.5%) are all up strongly.
- The ruble gained to 65.22/dollar and the telecom firms have been heavily sensitive to the currency, all down more than 44% over the past year.
Mon, Feb. 2, 11:30 AM
- With the ruble gaining a bit of strength against the dollar (trading back around 68.8), telecoms with exposure to the currency are rising again.
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is having a field day, up 11.9%; Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) up 5.2%; MiMES Rostelekom (OTCQX:ROSYY) up a bit at +0.3%; Turkcell (NYSE:TKC) up 1.7%.
- News of VimpelCom wrapping a $2.6B sale of its interest in Djezzy is still making the rounds. The firm was downgraded by Deutsche Bank on Thursday.
Fri, Jan. 30, 5:35 PM
Fri, Jan. 30, 12:43 PM
- Today's Russian interest rate cut has taken its toll on the long-suffering ruble -- and therefore on ruble-related telecom firms.
- The ruble's made up a bit of ground from earlier, now at 70.12 vs. the dollar.
- Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) is down 2.8%; MiMES Rostelekom (OTCQX:ROSYY) down 4.2%; Turkcell (NYSE:TKC) down 1.8%.
- The interest-rate cut to 15% today followed a hike to 17% last month and points to more volatility ahead for the currency and for firms in ruble-related markets.
- Previously: Russia central bank cuts key rate (Jan. 30 2015)
Mon, Jan. 26, 1:21 PM
- The ruble/dollar exchange rate is down to 67.9 after the U.S. and EU threatened Russia with new sanctions in the wake of a new offensive by pro-Russian Ukranian rebels. Meanwhile, S&P has downgraded Russia's debt rating to BB+ (junk status) from BBB-.
- Yandex (YNDX -4%), Qiwi (QIWI -2.6%), VimpelCom (VIP -2%), and MTS (MBT -8.2%) aren't reacting well. Russia's MICEX Index fell 1.8% today. The dollar-based Russia Trading System Cash Index fell 5%.
MBT vs. ETF Alternatives
Mobile Telesystems OJSC provides telecommunications services including voice and data transmission, internet access, pay TV, various value added services through wireless and fixed lines and sells equipment and accessories.
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