UPDATE 1-Kazakhstan's KCell 2012 earnings fall 7.5 pct

Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:03am EST

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MOSCOW/ALMATY Jan 31 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's largest mobile phone operator Kcell, fresh from a $500 million stock market flotation in London, reported a 7.5 percent fall in full-year net profit as it adjusted tariffs amid increased competition.

Net profit totaled 61.8 billion tenge ($410 million), down from 66.9 billion in 2011, on revenue of 182 billion, the company said in a statement.

"Kcell felt the impact of increased competition in the Kazakh mobile telecommunications market. As a result ... we saw a slight slowdown in our financial performance in 2012," said KCell Chief Executive Veysel Aral.

KCell, controlled by Nordic parent TeliaSonera, said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), excluding non-recurring items, fell 4.1 percent to 101.426 billion tenge.

The EBITDA margin remained above 55 percent in 2012 due to a focus on cost controls, the company said.

KCell said it remained committed to paying "attractive dividends". Its dividend policy commits to paying out at least 70 percent of net income. The company also said it would pay a special dividend totaling 32.4 billion tenge on its second-half results.

KCell's December flotation of a 25 percent stake in London and Kazakhstan was priced at the bottom end of its offered range at $10.50 per global depositary receipt (GDR) and raised $525 million.

The stock has risen more than 18 percent since the IPO.

KCell, which increased its subscriber base by 2.6 million to 13.5 million last year, said it sees benefits from the significant growth potential for mobile data services in Kazakhstan, central Asia's largest economy and the second-largest post-Soviet oil producer after Russia.

$1 = 150.81 tenge (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Megan Davies and David Holmes)