Wind Hellas cuts losses in Q4

Wind Hellas Telecommunications SA, the Greek wireless company acquired by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris last year, reported a narrowed fourth-quarter loss as it reduced costs and added customers. Wind Hellas had a loss of -20 million ($29.5 million), compared with a loss of -58.3 million a year earlier, according to a statement posted on the Athens-based company’s website. Sales rose 3.8 percent to -299 million, helped by the addition of 76,126 new customers in the quarter, for a total of 4.5 million. Operating income at Wind, which combines Greece’s third- and fourth-biggest wireless companies, more than doubled to -58 million, helped by lower interconnection rates and lower payments to retailers. The figures don’t include Tellas Telecommunications SA, the second-largest Greek fixed-line phone company. Sawiris acquired the stake he didn’t already own in Tellas last year to offer more services with Wind Hellas, banking on a growing appetite in Greece for high-speed Internet services and products that combine mobile, fixed-line phone and Internet services. Tellas, which lost 25,646 customers in the final quarter of the year, reported a loss before taxes of -8.4 million, compared with -7.7 million a year earlier, on higher depreciation and monthly access costs. Sales increased 7.7 percent to -30.7 million. (Bloomberg)