UPDATE 2-KPN’s Q4 profit up, plans 1 bln eur share buyback

* Q4 EBITDA up 3.4 percent, revenue down 9 percent

* To buy back 1 billion euros in shares in 2010

* Sees 2011 dividend at least 0.85 euro/share

* Mobile International chief Stan Miller to leave company

* KPN shares down 1 percent

(Adds detail, analyst comment, shares, background)

By Harro ten Wolde

AMSTERDAM, Jan 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Dutch telecoms group KPN’s
(KPN.AS: ) core profit in the latest quarter rose 3.4 percent, in
line with expectations, thanks to aggressive cost cuts that
freed up enough cash for a new 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion)
share buyback.

KPN reported fourth quarter earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was 1.31 billion euros,
compared with average analysts’ expectations of 1.32 billion
euros and up 3.4 percent from a year earlier, which includes
profit from Getronics, bought in the past year.

“The results were in-line, nothing unexpected,” Keijser
Capital analyst Nico van Geest said, keeping the shares at “buy”
with a 14 euro price target.

The 1 billion euros share buyback, which will take place in
2010, was expected by analysts, and was at the top end of their
forecasts. Free cash flow in 2009 was 2.4 billion euros, helped
by improved taxation and lower capital expenditures.

“While revenues declined, our focus on EBITDA, free cash
flow and market shares continued to pay off,” KPN Chief
Executive Ad Scheepbouwer said in a statement.

KPN shares were down 1 percent at 11.84 euros at 0900 GMT,
compared with a 0.4 dip in the DJ Stoxx European telecoms index
(.SXKP: )

Revenue dropped 9 percent to 3.4 billion euros, as KPN’s
iBasis and Getronics units were hurt by weaker economic
conditions.

That was offset by ongoing cost cutting, as KPN shed 3,554
jobs in 2009, bringing the total since 2005 to 10,000, including
cuts at Getronics.

KPN kept its 2010 targets intact, expecting sales at the
same level as 20009, and EBITDA of more than 5.5 billion euros
and dividend of 0.80 euros per share.

The former Dutch telecoms monopoly proposed a 2009 dividend
of 0.69 euros per share and targets to pay a dividend of 0.80
euros per share in 2010 and of at least 0.85 euros in 2011.

Separately KPN announced that Stan Miller, CEO of KPN’s
international mobile business, will leave the company as of
Feb.1. Miller will not be replaced, and his responsibilities
will be divided among sitting management board member Eelco Blok
and Baptiest Coopmans.

Scheepbouwer told analysts that Miller’s departure will have
no impact on any decision regarding his own succession.
Scheepbouwer’s contract will end mid-next year.

“Miller was one the crown princes,” Keijser Capital’s Van
Geest said, adding that he still expects that Scheepbouwers
successor will come from within KPN.
($1=.7072 Euro)

Stock Market Trading

(Editing by Hans Peters)

UPDATE 2-KPN’s Q4 profit up, plans 1 bln eur share buyback