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Crisis tax to affect telcos CAPEX, not tariffs

A "crisis tax" levied on Hungarian telecommunications companies will affect their capital expenditures, not their tariffs, deputy-CEO of telco Invitel György Zsembery said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The sector is too regulated for telcos to pass the cost of the tax on to consumers, Zsembery said. Besides, tariffs have been dropping for years and consumers would not accept price rises, he added.

Invitel will pay about HUF 4 billion on the crisis tax in 2010, Zsembery estimated. The company's CAPEX comes to at least HUF 6 billion a year, the deputy-CEO added.

Invitel had revenue of HUF 57 billion last year in Hungary, and EBITDA came to HUF 26.5 billion, both similar to 2008.

Invitel has more than 850,000 retail clients and 60,000 corporate clients.

Crisis taxes are also being levied on energy companies and retail chains in 2010-2012 as part of recently announced government measures to keep Hungary's general government deficit on target. Bank tax was introduced in September. (MTI-Econews)