* Q4 profit 14.962 bln pesos vs 16.307 bln pesos year ago
* Revenue down 1.1 percent at 198 bln pesos
MEXICO CITY Feb 12 America Movil, Latin
America's biggest phone company, reported on Tuesday an 8.2
percent drop in fourth-quarter profit, missing analysts'
expectations, as revenue fell due to currency weakness outside
The company, owned by Carlos Slim, who is ranked by Forbes
as the world's richest man, said fourth-quarter profit had
slipped to 14.962 billion pesos ($1.16 billion) from 16.307
billion pesos a year earlier.
That compared with an expected profit of 24.131 billion
pesos in a Reuters survey of analysts.
Fourth-quarter revenue fell 1.1 percent to 198 billion
The company reported that core profit - earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) - had
fallen 8 percent from the previous quarter as it spent more to
win new customers and improve its infrastructure.
Still, Mexico City brokerage Monex said in a report that it
believed the company would experience moderate growth in 2013.
Monex retained a "buy" rating on the stock but reduced the
company's target price to 17.50 pesos by the end of 2013, from
America Movil shares closed down 0.8 percent at 15.83 pesos.
The company said it had added 5.6 million mobile subscribers
in the fourth quarter to end the year with 19.8 million
subscribers, up 18.4 percent from 2011.
Although America Movil enjoys dominant positions in Mexico's
cellphone and fixed-line markets, the company is under
increasing scrutiny from regulators abroad and facing
competition in many markets, Monex said.
Like its rivals, it is also under pressure to increase
spending on infrastructure and find new revenue streams.
The company started rolling out 4G services in Mexico at the
end of last year, using long-term evolution (LTE) technology
that boosts average speeds on wireless devices to 20 Mb from a
current range of 3 Mb to 5 Mb.
America Movil also went on a spending spree, building up
stakes in two European phone companies, accumulating a 26
percent holding in Telekom Austria and a nearly 28
percent stake in Dutch company KPN.
But unlike Slim's Telcel and Telmex, which have 70 percent
and 80 percent, respectively, of Mexico's mobile and fixed-line
markets, KPN and Telekom Austria face fierce competition in
their local markets.
Telekom Austria shares rose 4.3 percent in the fourth
quarter but are down 9 percent this year, and the company has
warned its profit could fall further due to tough competition.
KPN shares fell 37.5 percent in the fourth quarter and are
down a further 15.7 percent this year.
Regulators in Mexico have been trying to increase
supervision of Slim's dominant America Movil and Telefonos de
Mexico (Telmex) with limited success.
Mexico's competition commission earlier this month announced
it would fine America Movil's Mexico-based home-phone service
Telmex about $50 million for blocking a rival phone company from
accessing its network.