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Greece’s OTE Quarterly Core Profit Dips, Romania Hurts

Greece’s biggest telecoms operator OTE posted a 0.9 percent drop in first-quarter core profit on Thursday as weakness in Romania outweighed growth in its home market.

The former national monopoly, 45 percent owned and managed by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 310.6 million euros ($347.9 million) compared to 313.4 million euros in the same quarter a year earlier.

A drop in profit in Romania outweighed growth in Greece, where the economy is recovering after years in recession.

The group forecast Romania would stabilize in the second half of the year and maintained its outlook for free cashflow of about 350 million euros for the full year.

OTE will pay an extraordinary dividend of 0.06 euros a share from proceeds made after selling its mobile unit in Albania.

Heavy spending on new high-speed VDSL broadband services and a fast growing pay-TV business in Greece, where it generates about 90 percent of its core profit, have helped the group win back fixed-line customers from smaller peers in recent years.

OTE said it would tap “digitalization opportunities” to reduce fixed costs and address headwinds that new European and local regulations will create in coming quarters.―Reuters

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