The Netherlands’ largest telecoms operator by revenues and subscribers, Royal KPN, today posted an unexpected 1.7% fall in third-quarter net profits due to higher operating costs, and announced plans to launch a EUR1 billion (USD1.28 billion) stock buyback in November. Group net income dropped to EUR349 million in the three months to 30 September, down from EUR355 million in the same period of 2007, falling well short of the EUR367 million profit forecast by seven analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. Revenues in the third quarter climbed 21% year-on-year to EUR3.63 billion, in line with analyst estimates, aided by its acquisition of Dutch computer-services provider Getronics for EUR766 million last year. Despite the disappointing performance, KPN today said it will ‘comfortably’’ achieve its 2008 forecast for earnings in the Netherlands. It also confirmed its 2010 targets, saying sales will exceed EUR15 billion, up from EUR12.6 billion last year.
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