BRUSSELS, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Belgian telecoms group Proximus forecast slightly growing earnings this year despite the negative impact of regulatory measures by increasing its customer base and cutting costs.
The company, formerly the Belgian state telecoms monopoly, said on Friday that regulatory measures would reduce revenue by 81 million euros ($85.7 million) and core profit (EBITDA) by 69 million euros in 2017.
“Although facing a greater negative regulatory impact and highly competitive market, Proximus expects its domestic revenue for 2017 to remain nearly stable to the prior year,” it said, adding core profit would “slightly grow”, supported by its cost reduction plan.
Proximus’s Fit for Growth plan, initially launched in 2014 as a three-year strategy to bring the company back to growth, now envisages lowering domestic expenses by 150 million euros over the period 2015-2019.
Proximus said that in 2016 it had shifted its consumer segment towards high-value, low-churn households and small offices with combined telecom and TV packages and benefited from strong growth of mobile customers among businesses.
Core profit, adjusted for one off items, grew 5.5 percent in the fourth quarter to 441 million euros, broadly in line with the 439 million euros expected in a Reuters poll of four analysts. ($1 = 0.9453 euros) (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Robert-Jan Bartunek)