Negative outlook for Mid Europa’s Bité

The ratings agency Fitch has revised the outlook on Bité, Mid Europa’s Baltic mobile operator, following slower than expected growth in the Lithuanian market.

Bité, which was purchased by Mid Europa in February 2007, has encountered tough conditions in Lithuania. Strong EBITDA growth in the Lithuanian market, where Bité is the second largest operator by revenue, was intended to offset negative earnings in Latvia, where it has yet to achieve similar success.

“The negative outlook reflects, in part, Bité's recent EBITDA performance in Lithuania, and the resulting more challenging outlook for continued growth in EBITDA, given the inflationary cost environment and highly competitive, mature markets in which Bite operates,” said Michelle De Angelis, senior director in Fitch's leveraged finance team in London.

Fitch pointed out that revenues in both markets continue to grow, but that cost pressures, partly due to wage inflation, were slowing the company’s earnings.

Mid Europa was unavailable to comment.