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Philips Q4 earnings hit by part shortages and ventilator recall

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Dutch health technology company Philips on Wednesday said it expected fourth-quarter core profit to drop around 40% to about 650 million euros ($739.25 million), hit by a global shortage of electronic components and the fallout of a massive recall of ventilators.

Comparable sales fell 10% on a yearly basis to 4.9 billion euros, Philips said in its profit warning, due to the shortage of parts, a lack of freight capacity and customers postponing their orders.

Sales were around 350 million euros lower than Philips had expected, taking comparable sales over 2021 down 1% – while the company had guided for a small increase.

The supply-chain problems added to the worries over the recall of ventilators, for which Philips said it had taken a new provision of 225 million euros, as more devices needed to be repaired than previously expected.

Philips last year set aside 500 million euros for the operation, as it estimated it would replace up to four million ventilators and respiratory devices worldwide because of a polyurethane foam part that might degrade and become toxic.

Philips shares have lost around a third of their value since the company announced the recall in April last year.

The company will publish full quarterly and yearly results on Jan. 24.

Telecoms

Mexico’s GigNet signs Mera fiber deal

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Mexican operator GigNet, a subsidiary of U.S. firm GigNet, announced a deal to install a private high-speed internet and Wi-Fi network for Mera Corporation, a multinational company specializing in food and beverage concessions at airports and cruise ports.  

Under the deal, GigNet will connect Mera’s corporate Cancun offices to the company’s 18 airport terminal locations.  

In addition, Mera is a private multinational company aimed at compromises of food and beverages with a critical mass within non-traditional places such as airports and cruise ports.  

“Mera Corporation actively seeks operations in the industry of food and beverages where we can add value and increase income. We are operators, concept developers, franchise partners, strategic allies, and restaurant owners,” said Rafael Aguirre, President of Mera Corporation.  

“High-speed data access and efficient communication is a requirement to keep at the forefront of our business. GigNet is a perfect fit to connect our Headquarters operations because they understand what it means for our business to have reliable high-speed Internet,” Rafael added.  

GigNet is the Mexican Caribbean brand of GigNet, a U.S.-based international Digital Infrastructure company. Through its Mexico operating subsidiaries, GigNet, S.A. de C.V., and Sanalto Redes Peninsular, S.A.P.I. de C.V., the Company is a fully licensed telecommunications provider in Mexico.  

Mark Carney, OBE, President of GigNet Mexico, said, “we will be supplying our GigNet enterprise solutions, enabling simultaneous use of cloud and streaming applications that will not only enhance Mera’s already superior customer service but will also improve communication, automation, and the decision-making process for the group’s corporate management team. With this expanded relationship, we look forward to partnering in their growth and continued success as Mera continues to lead the global travel industry.”  

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Vodafone and Iliad discussing merger of Italian units, report finds

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Vodafone and Iliad are holding talks to reach a deal meant to merge their respective units in Italy, according to local reports.  

If an agreement is to be reached, the combined company would be the country’s leading mobile operator, with around 36 percent of the market and nearly $ 1.13 billion in revenues.  

Discussions between the two companies are actively studying ways to clinch a tie-up of their respective businesses in Italy.  

According to the report, Iliad, which is planning to start wireline broadband operations in Italy next week, is working with Lazard Ltd. Still, it’s uncertain if the talks will lead to a transaction.   

As such, the deliberations come as Telecom Italia SpA weighs a $ 12 billion takeover bid from KKR & Co. Meanwhile, Vodafone has recently discovered a potential purchase of Three UK from CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., Bloomberg News reported earlier on Saturday.    

Iliad, which will make its wireline broadband debut in Italy on January 25, is working with investment bank Lazard (LAZ.N) on its strategic plans in Italy.  

In addition, if the talks were successful, a deal would create a telecoms center with a mobile market penetration of about 36 percent and combined revenues of nearly $6.80 billion.  

It is worth mentioning that Iliad, which billionaire founder Xavier Niel leads, has been reviewing options to further expand in Italy in recent months as it seeks to take advantage of deal fever in Italy’s telecoms industry to accelerate consolidation and cease a price war that has been slashing its margins, the sources said.  

Earlier this month, Iliad’s Italy boss Benedetto Levi said that the French firm was open to buying a rival operator.  

“If a company, as a whole or in part, becomes available on the market we will consider it without any preconception,” he said.  

On Nov. 17, Vodafone’s boss Nick Read said that partnership was needed in Europe, particularly Italy, Spain, and Portugal, where “all players are suffering.”  

The discussions are happening in parallel with Telecom Italia still assessing a $12.25 billion takeover approach from U.S. fund KKR (KKR.N) to make Italy’s biggest phone group private. 

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Lebanese M1 and local partner to proceed with Telenor Myanmar purchase

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After waiting at least six months since it proposed to buy Telenor’s Myanmar unit while the government searched for a local buyer, M1 Group will partner with a Myanmar firm, allowing Telenor to leave the country.  

Telenor uncovered plans in July to sell its operations in Myanmar to M1 for $105 million. However, it’s not clear whether this is still the sum involved.  

As a result of the military coup in February 2021, providing services as a telecoms operator in Myanmar has become more arduous by the day for the company, which is one of the country’s largest operators. The situation soon became unsustainable, with the company putting off their investment in May last year.   

By July, the Norwegian operator had agreed to sell the struggling unit to Lebanon’s M1 Group for $105 million, with the latter suggesting they were ready to invest $330 million into its new venture.   

According to sources close to the matter, Reuters revealed that the new venture would be called Atom. However, the news hub also reported a Telenor spokesperson saying that it is waiting for a response to its application for regulatory approval of the sale.  

Last year, military leaders rejected plans for a sale to M1. At the same time, it has been reported that Shwe Byain Phyu Group will be the majority shareholder of the former Telenor operation.  

Telenor’s exit has been surprising because the new rulers of Myanmar pressured a number of telecoms companies to install surveillance technology.   

That order was complex for Telenor to apply, saying its handover to a new buyer would include all assets, including call data records, following license obligations.  

In parallel, Telenor announced earlier this week that it had signed a new agreement expanding its partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS).  

Telenor says the deal will help them modernize their website and collaborate in developing private 5G and edge use cases for industries, including automotive, manufacturing, and supply chain logistics. 

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