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Bear of the Day

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Bear of the Day: France Telecom - ADS (FTE)

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We are downgrading our recommendation on France Telecom - ADS (FTE) to Underperform from Neutral, following lackluster third quarter 2012 results. The company posted declining results for both earnings and adjusted EBITDA. Even revenue in France, the operator's largest market, dropped due to lower traditional telephone services.

Looking ahead, we expect the shares of the company to remain under pressure, owing to increased VAT rates, a persistent unfavorable economic environment, a poor fixed-line telephony business, lower mobile termination rates and strict regulatory measures across key European markets. Thus, the absence of any near-term strong driving catalyst compels us to have an apprehensive outlook on the company.

Hence, we downgrade our recommendation to Underperform from Neutral. The company has a price target of $9.75, based on 6.3x our 2012 EPADS estimate.

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