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Israeli telecoms firm Partner eyes more cost cuts after Q3 loss

Israeli telecoms group Partner Communications moved to a net loss in the third quarter, citing a loss of roaming revenue due to a steep decline in tourists caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Partner, Israel’s second-largest mobile operator, said on Wednesday it lost 5 million shekels ($1.5 million) in the July-September period, compared with a profit of 7 million shekels a year earlier.

Revenue dropped 3% to 800 million shekels, hurt by restrictions on international travel that lowered roaming services and reduced activity in shopping malls, while the sector as a whole remains competitive and faces price erosion.

“Despite the effects of the coronavirus crisis, Partner’s results exhibit stability and resilience in the third quarter due to the consistent growth in the fixed-line segment, which contributes to a revenue mix that establishes long-term financial strength,” said CEO Isaac Benbenisti.

Its mobile subscriber base grew by 54,000 to 2.762 million, while its TV service rose to 229,000 customers and its ultra-fast internet service now reaches 700,000 households via a fibre optics network in 50 cities across Israel.

Chief financial officer Tamir Amar noted that Partner, was able to mitigate some of the decline in revenue and profit through cost cutting measures.

Amar said Partner expects that for the fourth quarter, the almost cessation of foreign travel will continue to have a negative impact, although smaller in scale than in the third quarter.

Partner “will continue to take proactive cost cutting measures in a number of areas, such that the overall net impact in the fourth quarter is not expected to be material.” he said.

On Monday, rival Cellcom, Israel’s largest mobile operator, reported a wider third-quarter loss of 37 million shekels from 2 million a year earlier, while revenue rose 3%.

Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecoms group, is slated to publish its quarterly results next week. Reuters

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