OTE says sector coping well in crisis

OTE telecom, part-owned by Deutsche Telekom, yesterday reported a 9.2 percent drop in 2008 earnings but said the sector is showing resilience against the financial crisis, boosted by solid growth rates in mobile telephony and Internet. OTE’s net profit in 2008 fell to 601 million euros from 662 million euros in the previous year. Revenues inched ahead 1.4 percent year-on-year to 6.4 billion euros. OTE CEO Panagis Vourloumis said telecommunications are expected to be more resilient to the downturn than other sectors. «Irrational price cuts from competitors in fixed and mobile phone services, weaker currencies in some countries [in which OTE operates] and unforeseeable regulatory decisions will make the environment more difficult,» he said in a statement. Revenues from OTE’s mobile unit, Cosmote, continued to be strong last year, helping to offset a drop in sales from fixed-line services. Cosmote’s full-year revenues in 2008 grew by 6.6 percent to 3.2 billion euros as the company expanded its market share in Greece and Southeastern Europe. During the last quarter of 2008, Cosmote boosted revenues, profitability and its customer base «at a time when its main competitors showed negative growth rates in Greece and Bulgaria and a worsening performance in Romania.»

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