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Intelsat (+36%) made a big leap last week on news of a capacity deal with Vodacom. The heavyweights of the European telecoms sector, had a positive week with a 1.4 percent gain for Vodafone and +3.7 percent for Deutsche Telekom. The four Russian shares in our index on the other hand suffered heavy losses: Rostelecom (-6%), VEON (-11%), MTS (-12%) and MegaFon (-17%). Greek takeover target Forthnet (-19%) could not hold on to the previous week's gains. Overall, our telecoms index ended week 15 up slightly (+0.4%), versus a gain of 1.2 percent for the EuroStoxx 50 index, according Telecompaper.
 
Incumbents in vogue
 
There was important news in week 15 on several European incumbents. Ireland's Eir formally ended up in the hands of a consortium of French Iliad (+3.5%) and it's founder's investment vehicle NJJ. The Macquarie consortium managed to get over 90 percent of the TDC (0.1%) shares, opening to the door to the delisting of the Danish company. Meanwhile, the battle for control of Italian TIM continued. Elliott Advisors expanded its shareholding to 14 percent, in the run-up to an important shareholder meeting.
 
Italian broadband
 
TIM also featured in Italy's broadband developments. State bank CDP built up a 4 percent stake, while the company is implementing functional separation of its fixed-line network. CDP could have a merger in mind with Open Fiber, the joint-venture of CDP and utility company ENEL. On its own, Open Fiber announced that it was nearing deals with a number of banks to financially support the roll-out of a pan-Italian fiber-to-the-home network.
 
YTD: Intelsat +107%
 
Year-to-date, Vodafone (-12%) and Deutsche Telekom (-5.7%) drag down the European telecoms index (-5.1%). Many shares are down double digit, from Orange Belgium (-11%) to VEON (-41%). Intelsat (+107%) now leads the index constituents, ahead of star performer MasMovil (+31%) from Spain; Sky (+29%), TDC (+31%) and Com Hem (+13%), each subject to takeover offers; Finnish Elisa (+12%) and DNA (+15%); and infrastructure operator Cellnex (+10%). For comparison, the EuroStoxx 50 index is down 1.6 percent YTD.