HONG KONG, March 14 (Reuters) - China Mobile Ltd posted a 2.7 percent rise in 2012 net profit, the slowest in three years, as the world’s largest mobile operator by subscribers grappled with low-end users and high handset subsidies.
Net income increased to 129.3 billion yuan ($21 billion) from 125.87 billion yuan in the previous year, the company said in a statement on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Thursday. That was the weakest growth since 2009, when net profit gained 2.3 percent.
The 2012 net profit was slightly better than expectations of 127.4 billion yuan, according to a Reuters poll of 13 analysts, which would have been the slowest growth since profits fell in 1999.
Fourth-quarter net profit was 36.0 billion yuan, up from 33.9 billion yuan a year earlier, based on Reuters' calculations based on previously announced data. For a copy of the statement, please click here (Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Ryan Woo)