ECONOMY

OTE’s EBITDA shows 26pct annual rise

Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA (OTE) announced yesterday its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 26 percent in 2001 to 1.7 billion euros, at the top end of market expectations. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast an average 22-percent rise in core profits in 2001, as the company continued to hold sway as the dominant fixed-line operator in its first year of deregulation. Net profit was down 8.8 percent at 573 million euros, versus 628.8 million in 2000, also beating market expectations of an average 18-percent fall. Net profit has continued to fall since 1997, when it reached a high of 880.4 million euros. Earnings per share (EPS) fell 7.4 percent to 1.1677 euros. Sales for the dominant Greek fixed-line operator rose 13.5 percent to 4.0 billion euros, above market consensus of 11.2 percent. The EBITDA margin for the full year was 42.0 percent, up 4.2 percent from 37.7 percent in 2000. «I am pleased with OTE’s excellent performance throughout 2001,» declared OTE Chairman and Managing Director Nikos Manassis. «The final tariff rebalancing rounds provide us with a sound cost-based platform to continue building our traditional fixed-line businesses and face competition wherever it emerges.» he added. Pretax profit was down 4.1 percent to 1.01 billion euros from 1.06 billion euros in 2000. All figures are calculated according to US accounting standards. Revenues from mobile telephony subsidiary CosmOTE contributed 16.0 percent to total revenues, a sharp increase from 10.4 percent in 2000. OTE’s traditional business – domestic telephony – contributed 53.2 percent to total revenues, down from 56.1 percent in 2000. OTE also said an expected 75-million-euro provision for past obligations to its staff pension fund had, in the end, been reduced to 51.4 million euros, following discussions with the finance ministry. OTE’s shares on the Athens bourse ended with losses of 0.68 percent at 17.40 euros. (Combined reports)