November 7, 2013 / 10:39 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Manitoba Telecom 3rd-quarter profit, revenues slip

Nov 7 (Reuters) - Manitoba Telecom Services Inc, whose sale of a major network asset was blocked by Canada’s federal government last month, on Thursday posted a drop in third-quarter earnings per share as revenues slipped.

The provincial telecom company said it earned 38 Canadian cents a share, down from 50 Canadian cents a year earlier. Revenue fell 3.7 percent to C$408.4 million ($391 million).

The company said it expects lower revenue next year and forecast earnings per share of between C$1.60 and C$2 for the year.

Analysts had on average expected MTS to earn 22 cents a share on revenue of C$419.1 million for the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company had tried to sell its Allstream fiber optic network to Egyptian telecom magnate Naguib Sawiris and his Accelero Capital Holdings, but the C$520 million deal was blocked by the Canadian government on unspecified national security concerns.

Following the rejection, MTS cut its full-year 2013 outlook to a C$1.15-C$1.45 range from the prior C$1.75-C$2.15 view.

Apart from the national Allstream network, MTS provides wireless, Internet and television services in the prairie province of Manitoba.

MTS’s chief executive had said in early September the company did not plan to bid on prized 700 megahertz spectrum outside of its home province in an auction due to start early next year.

Executives declined to discuss the spectrum auction on its conference call on Thursday. The Canadian government has put limits on what telecom companies bidding in the auction can say about their plans.

The 700 MHz spectrum is valued by the telecom industry for the ability to penetrate buildings and travel long distances.

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