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UPDATE 1-Russian mobile group MTS fourth quarter profits jump
March 19, 2013 / 12:46 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Russian mobile group MTS fourth quarter profits jump

* Net profit at $547.3 mln vs $437.3 mln forecast

* Revenues rise 6.2 percent to $3.17 bln, above forecast

* OIBDA margin falls to 40.7 pct, in line with expectations

MOSCOW, March 19 (Reuters) - MTS, Russia’s top mobile phone company, expects to pay more than $1 billion in dividends on its 2012 results after reporting a 39 percent increase in fourth-quarter net profit.

Chief Financial Officer Alexei Kornya told reporters that MTS’s 2012 dividend payments were expected to exceed $1 billion, if its board approves a new dividend policy at a meeting at the end of April.

MTS had said in November it aimed to change its dividend policy.

The company is ranked Russia’s biggest mobile phone operator by sales and subscriber numbers. Its Russian revenues rose 8.3 percent in rouble terms last year to 338 billion roubles ($10.97 billion), out of $12.4 billion in total.

The group’s total number of mobile users stood at around 101 million at the end of 2012, of which 71 million are in Russia.

MTS, part of oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema, said net profit rose to $547.3 million from $393.5 million the year earlier, beating a $437.3 million Reuters poll forecast.

Revenues increased 6.2 percent to $3.17 billion, ahead of the $3.14 billion forecast, driven by sustained voice usage, greater adoption of data services and higher handset sales, the firm said in a statement.

It expects capital expenditure to account for 20 percent of revenues this year, exceeding the average level of 18-19 percent planned for 2013-2015 as MTS needs to finance the roll-out of next-generation LTE networks.

Its adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) grew 1 percent to $1.29 billion, giving a margin of 40.7 percent versus 42.8 percent the year earlier, in line with forecasts.

The company confirmed a revenue growth forecast of 5-7 percent in local currencies for 2013 and for OIBDA margin in a 41-42 percent range.

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