April 30, 2020 / 6:16 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-KPN flags COVID-19 uncertainty after profit beat

(Adds uncertainty on outlook, CEO quote)

AMSTERDAM, April 30 (Reuters) - KPN, the largest telecoms provider in the Netherlands, on Thursday reported an unexpected 2% rise in first-quarter core profit but said it was uncertain about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the months to come.

The company said it would not be able to determine whether it needs to update its outlook for 2020 until the end of the second quarter, sticking to its forecast for stable to slightly growing core profit for now.

“It is clear that risks to our outlook have increased,” Chief Executive Joost Farwerck said in a statement. “It is as of yet premature to estimate how it will impact our customers and KPN for 2020.”

The COVID-19 pandemic had only a limited effect on KPN’s result in the first three months of the year, Farwerck said, but this could change rapidly as the fight to stop the disease cripples the Dutch economy.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) improved to 575 million euros ($624.6 million) in the first quarter as cost cuts outweighed a continuing fall in revenue.

The average forecast from analysts polled by the company was for earnings to be virtually flat at 561 million euros. ($1 = 0.9206 euros) (Reporting by Bart Meijer Editing by David Goodman )

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