May 14, 2018 / 6:02 AM / 2 months ago

Veon reports wider Q1 loss, but Russia operations improve

AMSTERDAM, May 14 (Reuters) - Veon, the Dutch-based operator of telecommunications companies, on Monday reported a wider loss for the first quarter, even as core operations in its biggest market, Russia, improved.

Veon, which also operates in Pakistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Algeria, reported a loss of $109 million, versus a loss of $5 million in the same period a year ago. Revenue fell by 1.4 percent to 2.25 billion, but the company said that, stripping out effects of disposed operations and currencies fluctuations, revenues would have risen by 3.2 percent.

Shares are down 27 percent year to date over worries about the viability of the company’s plan to make money from mobile internet services. CEO Jean-Yves Charlier stepped down in March and the company is being run on an interim basis by Chairwoman Ursula Burns, the former Xerox leader.

In Russia, revenues grew about 3 percent to $1.17 billion, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 7.4 percent to $443 million.

The company recorded $130 million in losses from its share in joint ventures, primarily its 50 percent stake in Italy’s Wind Tre, compared to $101 million in losses in the same period of 2017.

Veon’s Debt grew to $8.97 billion in the quarter from $8.74 billion at the end of 2017. Shareholders’ equity fell to $4.02 billion from $4.35 billion.

Veon repeated it expects to meet full year 2018 targets of at least flat to low-single digit growth in “organic” revenue and EBITDA, with cash flow of $1 billion. (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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