* Q3 net profit 110 mln shekels vs 108 mln forecast
* Q3 revenue down 25 pct to 1.315 bln shekels
* Company sees average revenue per user falling further in
JERUSALEM, Nov 21 Partner Communications
, Israel's second-largest mobile phone operator, said
revenue could fall further in the fourth quarter after an
ongoing price war led to a steep decline in revenue and profit
in the third quarter.
Average revenue per user (ARPU) declined 13 percent in the
July-September period to 97 million shekels.
"The company estimates that the level of ARPU for the fourth
quarter will be lower than in the third quarter, as a result of
seasonality effects and continued price erosion in the market,"
Chief Financial Officer Ziv Leitman said.
Total revenue fell 25 percent to 1.315 billion shekels, hurt
by both services and a 57 percent drop in income from handset
Net profit slid 36 percent to 110 million shekels, while
earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
declined 24 percent to 401 million.
Partner, which operates under the Orange brand
name, was forecast to earn 108 million shekels on revenue of
1.36 billion shekels with EBITDA of 386 million.
Israel's mobile phone industry was turned upside down this
year with the entry of six new operators, sparking a price war -
with unlimited calling plans for around $25 a month - and
leading to many customers switching companies.
Partner said its customer base fell 5 percent over the prior
year to 3.04 million. The company started its own low-cost
provider, 012 Mobile, which it said enrolled tens of thousands
Partner noted it would continue to implement efficiency
measures, which cut operating expenses by 600 million shekels in
annual terms, while it reduced its workforce by 850 to 5,863
Its free cash flow rose 20 percent over the second quarter
to 375 million shekels and the company said it will continue to
increase investment in the fourth quarter on upgrading its
Partner said its board did not discuss a dividend
distribution for the third quarter after it cancelled its 2012
dividend policy in September. The policy will be assessed prior
to fourth-quarter results.
Earlier this month, market leader Cellcom
posted a 38 percent fall in quarterly profit while Bezeq Israel
Telecom unit Pelephone, Israel's third-largest mobile
provider, reported a 41 percent drop in profit.