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KPN Mulls Strategic Options For Mobile Unit In Belgium - Update

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4/16/2012 4:02 AM ET

Confirming the reports, Dutch telecommunication firm Royal KPN NV (KKPNY.PK, KKPNF.PK) on Monday said it is exploring strategic options for its mobile activities in Belgium, known as BASE. The shares declined around 4% in the morning trade in Amsterdam.

In its statement, KPN said it has taken note of recent market rumors about a possible change in the composition of the divisions within the firm. The company said it is constantly viewing opportunities in the framework of the implementation of the strategy.

At this time the outcome of this study are still unclear and any further announcements will follow as appropriate, the company noted.

On Saturday, news agency Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the situation, that KPN was considering to sell its Belgian mobile-phone unit in a deal possibly worth 1.8 billion euros.

As per the report, private equity firms such as Apax Partners LLP APAX.UL are likely to be interested in BASE, Belgium's third-largest mobile operator.

KPN, which has been struggling with lower market shares in its fixed-line and mobile operations, had said in May last year that it identified several priorities to grow its businesses and that its objectives for the period from 2011 to 2015 included boosting investment in Belgium, among others.

In December last year, KPN agreed to sell its French mobile unit KPN France to Bouygues Telecom.

Hurt by macroeconomic headwinds and challenging industry trends, KPN in January had issued a profit warning for fiscal 2012, after reporting lower results in its fourth quarter.

In Amsterdam, KPN shares are currently trading at 7.33 euros, down 0.29 euros or 3.85 percent on a volume of 4.48 million shares.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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