UPDATE 1-Thailand's AIS cuts revenue target after drop in quarterly profit

Mon Aug 4, 2014 7:52am EDT

* Q2 net 8.48 bln baht vs forecast 8.9 bln

* Voice revenue down 12 pct on yr, non-voice up 32 pct

* Cuts 2014 rev target to 1-2 pct vs 6-8 pct (Adds comments on revenue outlook)

BANGKOK, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Advanced Info Service Pcl (AIS) , Thailand's largest mobile phone operator, reported a 7.8 percent drop in second-quarter net profit on Monday, hit by falling voice revenue and fierce competition after months of political unrest.

The market leader cut its 2014 revenue growth target to between 1 and 2 percent, against an earlier estimate of 6 to 8 percent, but said it expected momentum to pick up in the second half, boosted by an improving economy, it said in a statement.

"Growth in the latter half of this year is expected to accelerate on the back of improving consumer confidence from (the) relieved political situation and better data growth from improving network quality," the company said.

AIS, 23 percent owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd , posted a net profit of 8.48 billion baht ($263.6 million) for the April-June quarter, slightly below the 8.9 billion forecast on average by 10 analysts polled by Reuters.

This compared with 9.19 billion baht a year earlier and 9.48 billion in the previous quarter.

The second quarter is normally low season for mobile phone use, while competition is heating up as operators offer aggressive pricing to attract clients and cuts in handset prices.

Voice revenue fell 12 percent on year in April-June, while that from non-voice jumped 32 percent, AIS said.

AIS shares, valued at $19 billion in total, have fallen 14 percent in the past three months, underperforming a 6 percent gain in the broad Thai index, after the military government postponed an auction for fourth-generation mobile phone bandwidth.

Before the earnings announcement, AIS shares had closed up 1.4 percent, while the main index was 1.3 percent higher. ($1 = 32.1700 Thai Baht) (Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Jason Neely and David Holmes)

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