By Aziz Kaissouni
Egyptian mobile telco misses targets as interest charges drive down profitability.
Egyptian mobile firm Mobinil posted a 6 percent fall in net income for the first quarter of 2009 to 424 million Egyptian pounds ($75 million) on Wednesday, missing four out of five analyst forecasts.
In a statement, the firm said "imputed interest amounts relative to 3G instalment payments charged during the first quarter amounted to 29 million Egyptian pounds and higher interest costs are the main driver for the decrease".
Five analysts had forecast net profit figures of between 414 million pounds and 551 million pounds, with four of them expecting higher than 424 million pounds.
Blended ARPU (average revenue per user) declined 16 percent on a year earlier to 39 pounds, also missing analyst expectations. Three analysts forecast ARPU of between 41 and 42 pounds.
Net revenues rose 10 percent from a year earlier to 2.490 billion Egyptian pounds, Mobinil said.
Subscriber numbers were forecast at between 19.96 million to 21.096 million by analysts, which Mobinil beat with a 31 percent rise year-on-year to 21.179 million.
The firm reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of 1.215 billion Egyptian pounds.
Mobinil has been at the centre of dispute between mobile operator Orascom Telecom and France Telecom.
Egypt's market regulator says France Telecom should tender to buy all shares in Mobinil as part of a court ruling that it purchase Orascom's stake in a holding company that owns 51 percent of Mobinil.
Orascom Telecom said earlier in April that France Telecom had not met a deadline set by the Egyptian firm to complete a deal to buy its shares in Mobinil. France Telecom said it submitted all the details for the deal to go through.
Shares in Mobinil last traded 1.8 percent down at 206.50 pounds on Wednesday. (Reuters)For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.