* Q3 net profit up 74 pct y/y to $630 mln vs $527 mln
* Revenues drop 4.4 pct due rouble weakness vs dollar
* OIBDA down 4.2 pct, margin flat at 44 pct
* Wants to hike dividends by 25 pct for 2012-2014
MOSCOW, Nov 14 MTS, Russia's top mobile
phone operator, reported on Wednesday a forecast-beating 74
percent jump in third-quarter net profit and said it plans to
hike dividends by at least 25 percent in 2012-2014.
MTS, part of services conglomerate Sistema, said
net profit totalled $630 million, boosted by a $100 million
foreign exchange gain on its debt, compared with a Reuters poll
forecast of $527 million.
MTS competes with rivals Vimpelcom and MegaFon
, which both reported sharp increases in profitability
for the quarter.
MegaFon, which is planning a London IPO, recently reported a
20 percent rise in third quarter net profit to 15 billion
roubles ($476 million). New York-listed Vimpelcom earlier on
Wednesday reported a 185 percent rise in net profit to $538
MTS said subscriber numbers in Russia for mobile services
rose 1.6 percent to 69.59 million. That outpaced Vimpelcom,
which reported mobile subscribers in Russia fell 1 percent to
56.2 million. MegaFon outpaced both, reporting a 5.1 percent
rise in subscriber numbers to 62.8 million.
MTS said it would propose a hike of at least 25 percent in
its dividends on 2012-2014 profits to more than 18.3 roubles
($0.58) per share a year against 14.7 rouble paid in 2011. The
total three-year payout would thus amount to 114 billion
roubles, up from 91 billion in 2009-2011.
Its revenues dropped 4.4 percent in the third quarter,
year-on-year, to $3.13 billion due mainly to the appreciation of
the dollar against the rouble - its main operating currency.
Revenues were also hurt by the suspension of its operating
license in Uzbekistan in July.
Operating income before depreciation and amortisation fell
4.2 percent to $1.38 billion for a 44 percent margin, unchanged
from a year ago. Analysts had forecast OIBDA at $1.34 billion
with the 43.3 percent margin.
The New York-listed company also slightly raised its
full-year revenue growth guidance in local currencies to 7
percent from 5-7 percent.