(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe’s largest telecommunications operator, forecast its earnings this year will continue to grow after a strong 2023, boosted by growth in Germany and the US. 

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization after leases is expected to increase about 6% to around €42.9 billion ($46.4 billion) in 2024, the carrier said in a statement on Friday. 

That compares to an average estimate of €44.6 billion by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Deutsche Telekom traditionally raises guidance throughout the year, and in 2023 increased its forecast earnings three times. 

The Bonn-based mobile operator has bucked trends in the European telecommunications market, posting strong results fueled by its majority stake in T-Mobile US Inc. The US carrier, which reported its 2023 results in January, has helped contribute to Deutsche Telekom’s plans for €2 billion in share buybacks this year and raise its dividend. 

“We had 5.6 million new customers in the US, we are growing in all the markets that we are operating,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Hoettges said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “This is helping us to better utilize the expensive infrastructure we have invested into and this is helping us to grow.”

Hoettges said if Deutsche Telekom’s profit targets are met it could raise dividends above the planned 10% increase already announced.

Shares were down 2.6% to €21.77 at 11:54 a.m. in Frankfurt, as telecom shares in Europe broadly traded lower on Friday.

Given the company’s “track record of normally slightly exceeding expectations, the financial targets are reassuring,” Citi analyst Georgios Ierodiaconou said in a note. “The guidance for 2024 implies solid underlying growth in EBITDA which should continue.”

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:

Deutsche Telekom’s 2024 guidance for Ebitda and free cash flow, implying 6% and 16% gains, respectively, are slightly below estimates, though could be upgraded during the year, in line with recent practice. Its US cash-flow consensus sits slightly below the midpoint of the local target, while Germany, Europe and T-Systems beat Ebitda expectations in 4Q, with gains accelerating to 3.2% for the ex-US business.

— Erhan Gurses, BI telecoms analyst

Deutsche Telekom’s adjusted Ebitdaal in the fourth quarter was €10 billion, in line with analyst estimates. 

It had customer growth in all areas in Germany last year, adding 300,000 net broadband users and 1.2 million branded contract mobile customers in its home market. In the US, it said it had the largest growth in the industry. 

(Updates with CEO comment, shares starting in fifth paragraph.)

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