Brazil's Oi beats profit forecasts but debts keep piling up
SAO PAULO, April 30
SAO PAULO, April 30 (Reuters) - Brazilian telecommunications conglomerate Grupo Oi SA posted net income of 262 million reais ($131 million) in the first quarter, nearly twice the average estimate of 134 million reais in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Oi said net income was not comparable with earnings from a year earlier, when the group carried out a corporate restructuring. In a filing, the company reported a consolidated profit of 444 million reais for the first quarter of 2012, reflecting two quarters of the former Brasil Telecom before the restructuring and one quarter of Oi's results afterwards.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 7 percent from a year earlier to 2.151 billion reais, close to an average forecast of 2.17 billion reais in the Reuters survey.
Still, rising debt levels and heavy capital spending highlighted questions of capital management at the company, whose preferred shares lost a third of their value since its chief executive left in January, raising concerns about its turnaround strategy.
Oi's net debt rose 10 percent in three months to 27.495 million reais at the end of March, while the group spent 55 percent more on capital spending to improve its mobile network.
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