UPDATE 1-Russia's Rostelecom reports Q2 earnings fall but beats forecast
MOSCOW Aug 22 (Reuters) - Russian telecoms operator Rostelecom reported a fall in second-quarter profit, partly due to the costs of launching third-generation mobile networks and an increased provision for bad debts, but the figures beat analysts' expectations.
The company said the provision for bad debt was to account for a government project, while the third generation roll-out in Russia's regions put short-term pressure on its profitability.
Rostelecom has been seeking to offset declines in its core fixed-line business by expanding in profitable sectors such as mobile, pay-TV, cloud services and broadband.
The majority of the Russian mobile market is controlled by three home-grown carriers - MTS, Megafon and Vimpelcom.
Net profit at Rostelecom, Russia's fifth-largest mobile operator, was 7.3 billion roubles ($221 million), which it said was a 3 percent fall from the previous year. It beat analysts' forecast of 6.3 billion roubles.
Revenues rose one percent to 77 billion roubles.
Its OIBDA margin - operating income before depreciation and amortization - was 37.4 percent, lower than the 39.9 percent a year ago and below the margins reported by its peers MTS, Megafon and Vimpelcom.
Rostelecom says it forecasts an OIBDA margin for the year of 36-39 percent.
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