NZ's Spark full-year profit jumps

WELLINGTON Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:49pm EDT

WELLINGTON Aug 22 (Reuters) - New Zealand's Spark Ltd on Friday reported a 94 percent rise in net annual profit due to growth in mobile and data products, although adjusted earnings slipped.

Spark, which changed its name from Telecom NZ earlier this month, posted a net profit of NZ$458 million ($384.90 million) in the year to June 30, compared with NZ$236 million a year ago.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) slipped 4 percent to NZ$936 million, but came in within company forecasts for NZ$925 million-NZ$945 million.

Analysts had an average profit forecast of NZ$316 million and EBITDA of about NZ$934 million.

Spark said that an ongoing decline in legacy fixed products was offset by growth in mobile and data products and services, and added that expected to see a modest rise in earnings in 2015.

It reported a final dividend of 9 cents per share, from 8 cents last year. This took its full-year dividend to 17 cents per share, a touch higher than its guidance for 16 cents.

Spark has been consolidating its operations, quitting its business in the Cook Islands and Australia earlier this year as it faces increased domestic competition. (1 US dollar = 1.1899 New Zealand dollar) (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; editing by Andrew Roche)