ECONOMY

Cosmote Q3 profit up 21.2 percent

Greece’s largest mobile phone operator Cosmote reported a better-than-expected 21.2 percent rise in third-quarter net profit yesterday, as higher phone usage offset the costs of expanding abroad. Cosmote last year bought parent company OTE’s mobile assets in Bulgaria, Romania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as part of plans to counter a leveling-off of mobile take-up in its domestic market by tapping into markets where demand is growing. The company is now starting to see the benefits of the plan after reporting a decline in the second-quarter profit due in part to start-up costs of its Romanian unit. «Cosmote’s growth continues robust, driven both by the developing markets in the Balkans and strong performance in Greece,» the company said. «Key drivers have consistently been subscriber growth, as well as voice usage in all markets.» Net profit in the period rose to 117.2 million euros ($150 million). Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 11 percent to 248.6 million euros with sales up 18.4 percent at 593.5 million. The third quarter is traditionally the strongest for the company as Greeks take summer holidays, increasing the amount of time they talk on phones, and as tourists visit the country, boosting revenue from roaming charges. Net income for Cosmote’s Greek operations advanced 21 percent to 108 million euros in the quarter, with EBITDA up 10 percent at 201.1 million. Sales rose 6.4 percent to 435.6 million euros, the company said. Overall, Cosmote’s group customer base has reached almost 10 million subscribers. (Reuters)