Vimpelcom beats Q3 forecasts as earnings triple

Reuters, Ahram Online, Wednesday 14 Nov 2012

Russian telecom conglomerate, Vimpelcom, reports a net profit of $538 million in the quarter ending September 2012

Telecoms group Vimpelcom, the holding company that owns 52 per cent of Egypt's Orascom Telecom as well as assets in Russia, Italy and various emerging markets, said on Wednesday its third-quarter net profit nearly tripled, year-on-year, due to higher operating profit and forex gains, beating expectations.

Net profit totalled $538 million, the Amsterdam-registered group said in a statement, up 185 per cent from a year ago and above a $521 million average forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Consolidated revenue fell 6 per cent to $5.75 billion, in line with forecasts, due mainly to weakness in almost all its operating currencies, including the Russian rouble, against the dollar - Vimpelcom's reporting currency.

Organic revenue growth, excluding the effect of foreign currency movements, was 3 per cent as the company's total mobile subscriber base rose by 7 per cent to 212 million.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation fell 2 per cent to $2.53 billion for a 44 per cent margin, compared to the consensus forecasts of $2.51 billion and 43.7 per cent respectively.

The company also said it continued to see a positive trend in its core Russian market, where it ceded the number two spot to rival MegaFon in 2010 while pursuing global expansion through a more than $6 billion deal for Egypt's Orascom Telecom and Italy's Wind.

In Russia it reported a 7 per cent organic revenue growth for the third quarter, driven by mobile data, and an increase in its EBITDA margin to 43.2 per cent from 40 per cent a year ago as a result of its focus on profitability versus growth.

Vimpelcom's largest shareholders are Altimo, the telecoms arm of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Alfa-Group, and Norwegian telecoms group Telenor.

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