PPF Group, the privately held international financial group controlled by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, has announced the sale of 2,620,134 shares in fixed and mobile services provider O2 Czech Republic, in accordance with ‘its investment strategy of supporting an increase in liquidity in the shares of the company’. In a website update, PPF confirmed that the move was ‘a one-off decision on behalf of PPF Group and made in response to the re-inclusion of O2 shares in the prestigious group of MSCI indices, which led to a significant short-term increase in demand for O2 shares’. The transaction lowers PPF Group’s shareholding in O2 Czech Republic to 84.06%.
TeleGeography notes that O2 Czech Republic reported net profit of CZK3.72 billion (USD156 million) for the nine months ending 30 September 2015, up 49% year-on-year, as EBITDA rose 29.4% over the same period. In the wake of the announcement, the telco confirmed plans to launch a share buyback programme in January 2016. O2 Czech Republic also reported ‘stable’ consolidated revenues (including its O2 Slovakia business) for the period, of CZK27.7 billion, while noting that the results exclude Ceska telekomunikacni infrastruktura (CETIN), the company’s mobile and fixed infrastructure arm which was spun off in June this year. Mobile operating revenue climbed by 0.8% to CZK14.3 billion in the first three quarters, it said, but the carrier failed to staunch an outflow in users as the mobile subscriber base fell to 4.9 million, representing a 2.8% y-o-y decline. Within this figure, the pre-paid base was 6.2% lower at 1.66 million, and contract users declined 1.0% to 3.25 million.