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Tue 13 Nov 2012 06:19 PM

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Omantel's Q3 profit hit by Pakistan unit losses

Oman telco posts slight rise in Q3 net profit but misses analysts' estimates

Omantel's Q3 profit hit by Pakistan unit losses
Arab mobile phone, telcos, telecommunications generic

Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) posted a slight rise in third-quarter net profit, missing analysts' estimates as rising costs and losses from a Pakistan unit offset mobile broadband gains and lower asset depreciation.

The former monopoly on Tuesday reported net profit of OR28m ($2.6m) for the three months to September 30, up from OR27.43m in the year-earlier period, according to Reuters calculations.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Omantel would make a quarterly profit of OR29.88m.

Quarterly revenue was OR108.5m. This compares with OR109.9m a year ago.

Nine-month net profit rose 9.2 percent to OR90m, Omantel said in a statement, while revenue increased 2.9 percent over the same period to OR342.9m.

Omantel said a 67 percent increase in mobile broadband subscribers was the main reason for revenue growth this year, together with rising wholesale revenue, which was up 8.5 percent year-on-year.

Omantel has fought back against domestic rival Nawras , a unit of Qatar Telecom (Qtel), in part by hosting mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) Friendi and Renna.

These lease excess capacity, paying wholesale fees and usually a percentage of revenue, while Omantel can also count the MVNOs' subscribers as its own.

Omantel, which also owns Pakistani operator WorldCall, said its group subscriber base was 3.77 million as of September 30, up 9.8 percent from a year earlier.

"Loss incurred by Worldcall has slightly impacted group profitability growth," Omantel said.

Nine-month operating expenses increased 1.3 percent year-on-year to OR247.2m due to a larger wage bill and higher marketing costs and interconnection fees.

Depreciation of plant, property and equipment and amortisation of intangible assets fell by OR5.9m, Omantel said, without providing comparative figures.

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