UPDATE 1-Russia's Rostelecom H1 earnings fall 85 pct

* Net profit falls to 1.4 billion roubles

* Comparison eroded by one-off gain last year

* Operating profit hit by outpacing expense growth

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MOSCOW, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Russian long-distance call operator Rostelecom ROS.N said on Monday its first-half net profit fell 85 percent to 1.4 billion roubles ($48.3 million) from 9.8 billion roubles in the same period of 2008.

The year-on-year comparison was eroded by a year-ago gain from the sale of Rostelecom’s stake in fixed-line operator Golden Telecom for nearly 9 billion roubles.

The bottom line was also hit by a 53 percent fall in operating profit after expenses outpaced revenue growth, the company said in a statement.

Operating expenses rose 13.4 percent to 30.8 billion roubles due mainly to a 38.7 percent jump in payments to international operators for traffic transit as a result of the rouble weakening against foreign currencies.

Revenue edged up 4.4 percent to 32.8 billion roubles, the company said, adding that the global economic crisis, together with increased competition and voice call migration from fixed to mobile networks were deterrents to growth.

Operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) fell 26.9 percent to 5.7 billion roubles and the OIBDA margin slid to 17.5 percent from 25 percent a year ago.

Rostelecom is the proposed centre of the reorganisation of holding company Svyazinvest, part of Russia’s government plans to boost efficiency of state-run telecoms assets. [ID:nLK486977] (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=29.01 Rouble)