Top Kazakh mobile firm KCell 2014 profit falls as competition toughens

Jan 29. Reuters. ALMATY

* KCell’s 2014 net income falls amid tougher competition
* Revenue stable, EBITDA edges up
* Focus on boosting data revenue in 2015 and beyond

Top Kazakh mobile firm KCell 2014 profit falls as competition toughensKCell , Kazakhstan’s largest mobile phone operator, said on Thursday its net income decreased last year as it faced intensifying market competition in Central Asia’s largest economy.

The London-listed company, which is controlled by Nordic parent TeliaSonera, said its net profit declined by 8.1 percent to 58.3 billion tenge ($316 million) in 2014.

“We have continued to roll out our 3G services nationally and have driven acceleration in smartphone penetration with the successful launch of the iPhone and other smartphone bundles,” KCell CEO Arti Ots said in a statement.

In 2015 and beyond the company will focus on boosting data revenue through the acceleration of smartphone penetration and increasing data consumption, he said. KCell also plans to invest further to improve the quality of its services.

KCell’s revenue was stable at 187.6 billion tenge last year. Revenue from voice services decreased by 7.7 percent to 132.7 billion tenge last year, while data revenue went up sharply by 26.3 percent to 33.1 billion tenge.

The company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), excluding non-recurring items, edged up by 0.6 percent to 105.3 billion tenge.

KCell’s subscriber base totalled 13.055 million at the end of last year. Kazakhstan’s population is 17.4 million.

($1 = 184.45 tenge)