Stet Hellas announces 26.7pct EBITDA rise

Third-ranking mobile phone company Stet Hellas yesterday announced a 26.7-percent rise in consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) last year, on the back of double-digit increases in revenues from data communication, short message and roaming activities. Group EBITDA improved to 176 million euros, while group EBITDA margin (over total revenues) rose by 6.9 percent to 33.6 percent. Consolidated pretax profits rose by 35.9 percent to 71.1 million euros. The results were calculated according to US GAAP and included that of local retail chain Telepolis. Like its two other competitors CosmOTE and Vodafone (renamed from Panafon early this year), Stet Hellas’s decision to diversify its sources of revenue to non-voice activities two years ago appeared to be vindicated by its results in 2001. The mobile phone operator reported a 30.7-percent hike in revenues from data transfer and short message services and a 11.4-percent surge in roaming revenues. Market leader CosmOTE also reported similarly robust growth in non-voice revenues for 2001. Stet Hellas’s telecommunications revenues, in contrast, edged up by just 5.6 percent to 504.8 million euros. It also made up the great bulk (96.4 percent) of total revenues in 2001. Nicholas Varsakis, managing director, said the company plans to focus on »innovative mobile telephony services as new sources of revenue,» augmenting earnings from its traditional voice activities. Stet Hellas said its investment outlay ballooned up to 261.6 million euros last year, with slightly more than half of the costs related to the acquisition of a 3G phone license and additional 2G spectrum. All three mobile phone operators are expected to launch 3G services in 2004. Stet Hellas said it plans to propose a dividend of 0.09 euros per share to shareholders at the annual meeting.

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