February 3, 2017 / 7:04 PM / a year ago

CORRECTED-(OFFICIAL)-Telecom Italia 2016 core earnings beat forecasts with 14 pct rise

(Changes third paragraph after company corrects figure in table relating to organic domestic EBITDA growth)

MILAN, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia on Friday posted a better-than-expected 14.4 percent rise in full-year core earnings, helped by cost cuts and strong results from its domestic operations.

Italy’s biggest phone group, controlled by French media group Vivendi, said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to 8.02 billion euros ($8.63 billion), compared with 7.98 billion euros in a consensus of analysts’ forecasts provided by the company.

Domestic core earnings returned to growth in 2016 and rose 4.5 percent year-on-year when excluding non-recurring items, above the company’s own guidance of a low single digit rise.

On a reported basis, domestic EBITDA rose 20.6 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 3.5 percent to 19.04 billion euros, but were above analysts expectations for 18.91 billion.

Adjusted net debt fell to 25.12 billion euros at the end of December compared with 27.28 billion a year earlier, helped by the sale of the group’s stake in Telecom Argentina and the expiration in November of a mandatory convertible bond. ($1 = 0.9290 euros) (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Valentina Za)

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