Cosmote confident with 2005 targets

Cosmote, Greece’s largest mobile operator by users, is keeping its 2005 growth targets for earnings per share and revenue this year despite a slight delay in the consolidation of newly acquired Balkan units. «We are not changing the guidance we have given. Management is fully confident these expectations can be met,» Chief Financial Officer Elias Fotiadis told analysts during a conference call. Management in May said it expected EPS growth of 3-7 percent, revenue growth of 13-15 percent and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margin of about 40 percent this year. Fotiadis said the Balkan operations acquired from parent OTE, which holds about 64 percent of Cosmote, would be consolidated with about a month’s delay in August. «We estimate the effect on revenues of just over 30 million euros and of just over 7 million euros on EBITDA,» he said. Capital spending is estimated at 400 million euros this year, down from a previous target of 450 million euros. Earlier yesterday, Cosmote met expectations with a 9 percent rise in first-half net profit to 158.6 million euros ($194.7 million), with second-quarter net profit up 9 percent to 83.9 million euros, boosted by call-volume growth and a lower tax rate. (Reuters)