KPN takes £8.9bn hit on E-Plus

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The Independent Online

KPN warned it would take a €12.4bn (£8.9bn) write-down on its stake in the German mobile operator E-Plus yesterday, shaving billions from the Dutch telecoms group's 2001 results.

KPN warned it would take a €12.4bn (£8.9bn) write-down on its stake in the German mobile operator E-Plus yesterday, shaving billions from the Dutch telecoms group's 2001 results.

The bigger-than-expected charge will leave KPN reporting an annual net loss of up to €14bn on Monday, but analysts said the write-down of goodwill, the premium paid for an acquisition over its book value, would be beneficial for the heavily indebted phone company in the long run.

KPN's mobile arm plans to take a €13.7bn charge on the E-Plus purchase, but Japan's NTT DoCoMo, which holds 15 per cent of KPN Mobile, would take a chunk of the total write-down.

KPN paid €18.7bn in 1999 for a 77.5 per cent stake in the cellphone operator E-Plus to establish a foothold in Europe's largest mobile phone market in the hope of profiting from a surge in revenues from clients switching to data services.

KPN also said yesterday it had completed the purchase of the other 22.5 per cent of E-Plus from the US carrier BellSouth, issuing 234.7 million new shares in exchange for the stake.

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