Telecom Italia FY core earnings down 20 pct, debt rises
MILAN Feb 16 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia on Tuesday reported a 20 percent drop in its 2015 core earnings, hit by 1.08 billion euros ($1.2 billion) of one-off charges and further deterioration in its key Brazilian market.
Italy's biggest phone group said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell to 7 billion euros, just below an analyst consensus forecast provided by the company of 7.15 billion euros. Excluding one-off charges, EBITDA on an organic basis fell 4.5 percent.
Sales at the former telecoms monopoly, which is seeking new sources of income as its traditional phone services lose appeal amid competition from Internet rivals, fell 8.6 percent to 19.7 billion euros, in line with analysts forecast.
Domestic sales were down 2 percent, but slumped 26 percent in Brazil, where rising unemployment and inflation amid the worst economic downturn in decades have weighed on disposable income for cell services, especially in the lower-end prepaid segment that Telecom Italia's local unit has dominated in recent years.
Adjusted net debt rose to 27.3 billion euros at the end of December, up from 26.8 billion euros three months earlier, due to higher debt for finance leases related to a real estate project as well as the negative impact from bond repurchases. ($1 = 0.8968 euros) (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Stefano Rebaudo)
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