Telecom Egypt’s third-quarter profit drops 7.3 pct

Landline monopoly Telecom Egypt said its net profit fell 7.3 percent in the third quarter, as the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan combined with the summer holidays to dampen demand for its retail services.

Profit was 766 million Egyptian pounds (US$133 million), the company said on Thursday, a little below the average forecast of 796 million pounds in a Reuters poll of eight analysts. Estimates ranged from 614 million to 954 million.

"Telecom Egypt has reported modest third quarter 2010 results, compared to a very strong second quarter," said Beltone analyst Sally Gerges, adding that a decline was expected because of Ramadan.

The firm, which is mostly owned by the Egyptian government, said it made a net profit of 826 million pounds in the third quarter of 2009 and previously said it made 971 million pounds in the second quarter of 2010. Revenue edged up 1.7 percent in the quarter to 2.6 billion pounds, in line with the average analyst forecast.

The company said the number of subscribers for its ADSL data service rose 43 percent to 819,000. This gave the company a 62 percent share of the Egyptian market, it added.

The company said its stake in cell phone operator Vodafone's Egyptian unit added over 1 billion pounds to its bottom line in the first nine months of 2010.

The company, which has been trying to diversify away from fixed-line revenues hurt by the competitive cell phone industry, said its retail business now contributed just over half of its revenue and its wholesale business contributed just under half.

It said it had 9.4 million subscribers for its fixed-line telephone service at the end of September.

(US$1=5.753 Egyptian pounds).

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