Four weeks have passed since heavy rains flooded several rivers in western Germany. Dozens of people died or were injured, houses and roads destroyed. Today, Deutsche Telekom has also made a first assessment of its flood damage. According to this, around 30,000 customers of the group are still without a landline, which is bad news. But you can also think of it this way: around 75,000 affected telecommunications customers can use their fixed network again. “It will be months before we restock all homes,” says CEO Tim Höttges.
Numerous telephone lines passed under the now destroyed streets, and gray distribution boxes are also damaged in many places. Telekom is on site with around 1,500 specialists. They initially took over around 300 cell phone slots that were temporarily unavailable because they ran out of power and fiber optic connections. The group was able to repair its mobile phone network within a week, explains Höttges: for example, cables were laid over rivers such as the Ahr or antennas were connected to each other via a radio relay. “With the fixed network, it will take a little longer per game.”
Telekom estimates the damage caused by the floods at more than 100 million euros – but this is very preliminary, says CFO Christian Illek. The group had “taken precautions with the insurance companies”.
Globally, Telekom has raised its profit forecast for the current year by 200 million euros. This is mainly due to the fact that the merger of its subsidiary T-Mobile USA with local competitor Sprint is progressing faster than initially expected. The two mobile phone providers merged last year; since then they have been able to merge their networks and save many double expenses.
However, with the takeover, Telekom’s debt level reached nearly 128 billion euros. This is one of the reasons the group has placed two smaller divisions in the so-called showcase: “very intense bidding competition” has erupted for T-Mobile’s activities in the Netherlands, said CEO Höttges. “We are in the middle of a transaction in Holland.” In addition, Telekom plans to either sell part of its radio towers, or to associate them with a partnership, or to float them on the stock market. This initially brings money to network operators; In return, of course, they have to pay rent for the antenna stations.
On the stock market, the group temporarily gained 2% in value Thursday, making it the strongest title in the leading German index Dax. Telekom stock was listed as high as it had ever been for 20 years.