Russia's MTS beats Q3 profit fcast, to hike dividends

MOSCOW Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:49am EST

MOSCOW Nov 14 (Reuters) - MTS, Russia's top mobile phone operator, reported on Wednesday a forecast-beating 74 percent jump in third-quarter net profit and said it plans to hike dividends by at least 25 percent in 2012-2014.

MTS, part of services conglomerate Sistema, said net profit totalled $630 million, boosted by a $100 million foreign exchange gain on its debt, compared with a Reuters poll forecast of $527 million.

The company said it would propose a hike of at least 25 percent in its dividends from 2012-2014 profits to more than 18.3 roubles ($0.58) per share a year against 14.7 rouble paid in 2011. The total three-year payout would thus amount to 114 billion roubles, up from 91 billion in 2009-2011.

Its revenues dropped 4.4 percent in the third quarter, year-on-year, to $3.13 billion due mainly to the appreciation of the dollar against the rouble - its main operating currency.

Operating income before depreciation and amortisation fell 4.2 percent to $1.38 billion for a 44 percent margin, unchanged from a year ago. Analysts had forecast OIBDA at $1.34 billion with the 43.3 percent margin.

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