Despite writedown, Deutsche Telekom CEO convinced BT is a great asset

Believe in future of BT’s business: Deutsche Telekom CEO

Deutsche Telekom may have swung into a net loss for the fourth-quarter after writing down the value of its stake in BT, yet the chief executive remains confident in its future with the U.K. telecoms group.

"Looking forward we are very convinced that BT is a great asset to be in (and) to be the biggest shareholder in this one," Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, told CNBC Thursday.

"It's a market leader in mobile, in fixed line, in the B2B area and very strong in the content side."

"We believe in the business and we will do everything to improve and to help that this company is regaining the momentum back on stocks."

On Thursday, the German telecommunications firm announced that it had suffered an impairment loss of 2.2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) on its investment in BT, causing Deutsche Telekom to announce a fourth-quarter net loss of 2.12 billion euros in 2016, in comparison to a profit of 946 million seen a year prior.

At present, Deutsche Telekom holds a 12 percent stake in BT, yet according to Reuters, the Chief Financial Officer Thomas Dannenfeldt said on Thursday there could be further write-downs of BT's stake value in 2017's first quarter.

In its earnings report, released Thursday, the telecoms firm attributed the fourth quarter impairment loss to the Brexit vote, the recent decline in BT's share price and the sharp fall in the U.K. currency.

Deutsche Telekom CEO: Continue to invest in US business

However, the CEO told CNBC that whenever BT's share price goes up or down, the German firm would adjust it in its balance sheet.

"The first thing, this impairment which we are facing on the BT stock has nothing to do with the free cash flow and nothing to do with our operational performance."

"Second, in the first quarter of 2016, we gained 2.5 billion by [consolidating] the 12 percent stock. In the last quarter, we depreciated 2.2 (billion). Overall it's a 300 million increase which we have seen from the BT effect in our balance sheet in 2016."

"Now we hold 12 percent and whenever the share price is going up or going down, we are adjusting this in our balance sheet – that's normal accounting."

For 2016 as a whole, Deutsche Telekom posted net revenue of 73.1 billion euros and increased its dividend to 0.60 euros per share. The German company expects its 2017 adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to rise by just under 4 percent to around 22.2 billion euros.

While the adjusted EBITDA guidance was slightly below analyst estimates of 22.7 billion in a Reuters poll, the chief executive remained confident for the future, telling CNBC that the company was "very well on track".

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