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Sun 2 Nov 2008 11:38 PM

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Egypt's Mobinil says Q3 net income up 15%

Quarterly profits rise to $97mn, above forecast, as wrangle with regulator continues.

Egypt's Mobinil said on Sunday its third quarter net income rose by 15 percent to 541 million Egyptian pounds ($97 million).

That beat the expectations of investment bank EFG-Hermes, which forecast a drop to 388 million pounds.

The company said it would take legal action after Egypt's telecoms regulator ruled on a dispute in favour of state-owned landline monopoly Telecom Egypt by changing interconnect prices between fixed and mobile networks.

A spokesman for Mobinil refused to give further details.

The firm, which boasts the largest number of mobile subscribers in Egypt, has a history of wrangling with the National Telecoms Regulatory Authority (NTRA).

In April, the firm said it was delaying payment of a 750 million pound instalment on a 3G licence fee because the NTRA was late in handing over the frequency band for testing.

Mobinil, whose main shareholders are France Telecom and Orascom Telecom, competes in a three-way race for market share in Egypt with Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Egypt.

The company said its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the third quarter rose by 29 percent to 1.273 billion pounds.

Subscribers reached 18.91 million by the end of the quarter, up 38 percent from a year earlier. (Reuters)