UPDATE 1-Omantel Q4 profit rises 13 pct despite revenue drop

Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:11am EST

* Q4 profit 29.7 mln rials vs 26.2 mln rials a yr ago

* Q4 revenue 111.4 mln rials vs 116 mln rials a yr ago

* Q4 expenses 84.3 mln rials vs 86.7 mln rials a yr ago

* Full-year profit 119.3 mln rials vs 116.2 mln rials in 2012 (Adds details)

By Matt Smith

DUBAI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) reported a 13 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday despite a slight drop in revenue as costs also fell.

The former monopoly made a net profit of 29.7 million rials ($77.14 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, up from 26.2 million rials in the year-earlier period, according to Reuters calculations.

Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast Omantel would make a quarterly profit of between 27.6 million rials and 33.4 million rials.

Fourth-quarter revenue was 111.4 million rials, down from 116 million rials a year earlier.

Expenses for the quarter, which include wages, interconnection costs and roaming charges, were 84.3 million rials. This compares with 86.7 million rials in the final three months of 2012.

Omantel's full-year profit for 2013 was 119.3 million rials, up from 116.2 million rials in 2012, the company said in a bourse filing.

The only other details Omantel provided in this statement were its annual revenue and expenses, but in the company's nine-month results to Sept. 30 its finance income was 894,000 rials.

This compares with a loss of 644,000 rials in the corresponding period of 2012, while its share of profit from associated companies including Pakistani subsidiary Worldcall nearly quadrupled to 908,000 rials. Other income also jumped 90 percent to 435,000 rials in the first nine months of 2013.

Domestically, Omantel competes with Nawras, a unit of Qatar's Ooredoo.

Omantel also hosts two mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) Friendi and Renna. ($1 = 0.3850 Omani rials) (Reporting by Matt Smith; editing by Olzhas Auyezov)

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