April 21, 2014 / 3:35 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Saudi Telecom profits jump as overseas losses fall

* Net profit 2.39 bln riyals vs 1.55 bln a yr earlier

* STC investment losses drop 79 pct, provisions fall

* Revenue 10.78 bln riyals vs 11.47 bln a yr earlier (Adds details)

By Matt Smith

DUBAI, April 21 (Reuters) - Saudi Telecom Co (STC), the Gulf's No.1 telecom operator by market value, reported a 54 percent jump in first-quarter profit as provisions and losses from foreign units fell and it sold some assets.

The firm, which competes domestically with Etihad Etisalat and Zain Saudi, made a net profit of 2.39 billion riyals ($637.3 million) in the three months to March 31, up from 1.55 billion riyals in the prior-year period, it said in a statement.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast STC, which owns stakes in operators in the Gulf, Turkey, South Africa and Asia, would make a quarterly profit of 2.70 billion riyals.

STC chairman and managing director Abdulaziz Alsugair said the company was focusing on reinforcing its presence in its home market. "At the same time, we continue to rationalise STC's international portfolio and evaluate options for some of these investments in order to take appropriate actions in the best interest of the shareholders," he said in the statement.

In the first quarter of 2013, STC took an impairment of 500 million riyals on its Indian unit Aircel and a 287 million loss on Indonesian subsidiary Axis. In this year's first quarter STC has not taken impairments on Aircel and has sold Axis. STC sold assets worth 277 million riyals in the first quarter.

The former monopoly reduced losses from investments to 107 million riyals in the first quarter from 516 million a year earlier due to a change in the accounting treatment for Aircel.

Quarterly revenue was 10.78 billion riyals, down from 11.47 billion a year earlier.

STC's board of directors has approved a quarterly dividend of 0.75 riyals per share. ($1 = 3.7503 Saudi Riyals) (Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by David French and Jane Merriman)

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