Leading telecom OTE announced on Thursday a 20.8 percent drop in group operating profits last year, with revenues shrinking 1.3 percent.
The telecom giant reported improving subscriber numbers in key focus areas, including cellphone, broadband and television subscriptions in Greece, while international operations have not yet recovered, in spite of “early encouraging indicators in Albania and Romania.”
OTE chairman and chief executive Michalis Tsamaz said that in the fourth quarter in Greece “we achieved solid top-line performances in our fixed and mobile operations, offset by lower international wholesale.”
Group revenues dropped 1.3 percent in the last quarter of 2017 to 998.1 million euros, down 2.8 percent year-on-year, taking the entire 2017 revenues to 3.857 billion for an annual decline of 1.3 percent. The drop is partly due to the completion of the Rural Broadband project in Greece.
The adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 1.9 percent on a yearly basis in Q4 and 1.3 percent in 2017.
Q4 recorded operating losses of 29.9 million euros, against profits of 70 million a year earlier, reflecting impairments in the group’s international operations, totaling 134 million euros. This took the operating profits of 2017 to 305.5 million euros, down 20.8 percent from the profits of 385.6 million in 2016.
On an annual basis pay-TV subsidiary Cosmote TV recorded an annual increase of 4.4 percent to its subscription base, reaching 524,770 clients in end-December.
OTE expects overall positive revenue trends to continue in the current year, arguing that “the recovering economic environment in Greece should provide a favorable background to its activities in fixed and mobile telecommunications, with growth in mobile data, broadband and pay-TV offerings expected to continue. The extended reach of advanced data networks, in both fixed and mobile, drives increased customer reliance on OTE services, supporting its revenue base.”
The company will distribute a proposed dividend of 0.35 euros per share for 2017, up from 0.16 euros/share in 2016. In the coming days it will launch a share repurchase program worth 90 million euros.