United Internet makes forecasts

German Internet service provider United Internet expects sales, core earnings and earnings per share to rise by 20 percent this year, far slower than last year's growth.

Last year, sales rose 27 percent, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 40 percent and EPS increased by 52 percent at United Internet, Germany's leading alternative to Deutsche Telekom.

United Internet said its earnings forecasts included an interest charge of 21 million euros ($33 million) and a charge of 5 million euros related to its stakeholdings in Drillisch, Versatel and Freenet.

The company said it would propose a dividend of 0.20 euros per share for 2007, up from 0.18 euros and representing 31 percent of net profit from its continuing business. It would continue to pay out 20-40 percent of profits, it said.

United Internet said it added 240,000 new customer contracts in the first quarter, 110,000 of those for DSL Internet access. In 2007, it won 920,000 new customer contracts, 400,000 of which were DSL contracts.