* Flat earnings seen in 2012, 2013
* Unfriendly laws, fierce competition blamed for results
* Telecoms firm to pay unchanged dividend from 2012 profit
SARAJEVO, Dec 26 Bosnia's BH Telecom
expects pretax profits to be flat this year and next, coming in
at 148 million Bosnian marka ($100 million) in 2012 on a
one-percent fall in revenue to 612 million marka.
General Manager Nedzad Residbegovic said the biggest
operator in the former Yugoslav republic faced difficult
conditions including an unfriendly law on public procurement,
increased competition and political interference while the
process of liberalising the market is unfinished.
Sarajevo-based BH Telecom is 90 percent state-owned and its
procurements must be announced in public tenders, the procedure
for which is often prolonged.
It lost market share in previous years to m:tel, based in
Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic but operating across the
country. M:tel is owned by Serbia's state-owned Telekom Srbija
but operates as a private company.
"We have seen an enormous competition but only in the
Sarajevo area and parts of the Federation," Residbegovic said,
implying that Serb and Croat national operators have agreed not
to compete in areas they respectively covered.
BH Telecom operates mainly in parts of Bosnia's autonomous
Federation dominated by Bosnian Muslims, while HT Mostar, which
is based in the southern town of Mostar, operates mainly in its
The Federation and the Serb Republic are two autonomous
regions making up Bosnia.
Still, BH Telecom mobile network users rise by 120,000 to
1.5 million and internet users by 30,000 to 147,500, while its
Moja TV service won 30,000 new subscribers, financial director
Aida Stainbauer said.
Stainbauer said the company invested 110 million marka in
modernisation this year and would pay unchanged annual dividends
of 110 million marka from its 2012 profit.
Residbegovic said the company expected unchanged results in
(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Patrick Graham)