ECONOMY

CosmOTE keeps momentum going with strong results

CosmOTE, the mobile phone subsidiary of telecoms operator OTE, yesterday reported a 32 percent jump in 2002 net profits, underlining its ability to hold off the competitors breathing down its neck both at home and abroad. Consolidated net profits last year rose to 229.9 million euros on group revenues of 1.2 billion euros, an increase of 29.6 percent. Consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) soared 27.5 percent to 520.5 million euros. «These are straightforward results and in line with the company’s guidance and analysts’ expectations,» said Theodore Ritsios, telecoms analyst at P&K Securities. «They showed that CosmOTE is able to maintain the momentum.» Evangelos Martigopoulos, chief executive, said the company grew at twice the pace of the average EU telecoms operator last year. «Our goal is to be among the top five mobile phone operators in Europe in terms of results, services and customer satisfaction and the principal mobile phone operator in Southeast Europe,» he said. The operator reported a 9.5 percent increase in average minutes of use to 98 minutes as subscribers, especially contract users, talked longer over the phone. Contract users spend an average of 169 minutes on the phone. Average revenues per user amounted to 30 euros, with contract subscribers generating revenues of 46.70 euros, up 13 percent. Albanian Mobile Communications, the Albanian subsidiary, managed to cut its losses by 29.7 percent to 29.2 million euros, of which 9.1 million euros was due to the lek’s depreciation last year. Revenues rose 8.4 percent to 101 million euros and EBITDA 4.5 percent to 66.9 million euros. The company saw its market share slip to 59 percent from 70 percent as Vodafone-Panafon’s Albanian subsidiary stepped up the competition. Martigopoulos said results this year should benefit from the company’s management of MTS and Globul, OTE’s mobile operations in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria. On Telenor, holder of an 18 percent stake, he said the Norwegian company has yet to set a date for disposal of the share although «our view is that the issue should be resolved as soon as possible.» CosmOTE is also looking into the possibility of taking part in Cyprus’s auction of a GSM license later this year.