Last week was the the year’s best so far for the European telecoms sector. Our index was up 4.0 percent, outperforming the EuroStoxx 50 index (+2.5%) and reversing much of the previous week’s losses. The year-to-date performance of our index (-11%) and its benchmark (-8.3%) have come closer. There was a record eights stocks making double-digit gains. Earnings reports were generally welcomed, except those in the satellite sector. BT made a 15 percent jump on regulatory developments. The western and southern European players faired quite well, with just two exceptions.
Earnings season was well on its way in week 44, with 13 of the stocks in our index reporting:
Focus on BT
BT featured in a number of news items. First, the legal separation of the Openreach infrastructure subsidiary closed, releaving BT itself of certain regulatory obligations. The company does however want to hang on to full ownership of Openreach, rejecting structural separation. Ofcom, the regulator, was quick to move on to a new consultation, potentially forcing Openreach to share its passive infrastructure (ducts and poles) with competing fibre operators. BT also announced earnings for its second quarter.
In Italy, new entrant Iliad relaunched its third offer, implying that its subscriber base passed the 2.5 million mark. Further, the company opposed license extensions for fixed-wireless operators, including Tiscali (+49%), Go (+1.1%) and TIM (+12%). TIM appeared to be moving on with certain asset sales.
Forthnet (+13%), the Greek challenger, is coming closer to a stock market exit after Vodafone and Wind were reported to have made an offer.
Positive week for west and south
Looking at our index by region, we notice that companies with a clear focus on either western or southern Europe did well last week, with just two exceptions: Telefonica Deutschland and OTE (-1.1%). Among the largest companies by market capitalisation, Deutsche Telekom (+1.3%) had the weakest performance.
Year-to-date, Intelsat saw its still spectacular gain (+708%) reduced. Other satellite operators still do well too: Iridium (+77%) and SES (+45%). Sky (+71%) joined the double-digit winners based on its takeover by Comcast and Altice Europe (+65%) still benefits from the Altice USA spin-off back in May. MasMovil (+34%) is the ‘best of the rest’. Tiscali (-64%), despite its jump, is still at the bottom, together with Tele Columbus (-63%).