Wind Hellas, Tellas net losses widen

20 May 2008

Greek mobile operator Wind Hellas (formerly TIM Hellas) has posted a net loss for the first quarter of 2008 that widened to EUR69.11 million (USD107.58 million) from EUR22.56 million a year before, on revenues that rose by EUR31 million year-on-year to EUR302.81 million. EBITDA of mobile operations for the three months ended 31 March 2008 increased by 15.5% year-on-year to EUR98.3 million. Wind Hellas added a total of 58,814 new customers in the quarter, bringing its total subscriber base to 4,579,138, a 10% increase over its total at end-March 2007. Its Q-Card pre-paid GSM service had a total customer base of 1,143,986 at the end of March 2008, a 1.9% decrease year-on-year. Q-Card was previously part of Wind’s subsidiary Q-Telecom, which was merged into Wind Hellas in June 2007. Wind Hellas also controls Greek fixed line and broadband operator Tellas, and since October 2007, the cellco offers ‘Wind’ branded fixed telephony and internet services. Tellas lost a net 18,414 customers in the first quarter of 2008, leaving it with 781,519 total subscribers, a 2.3% decrease from its 799,993 users at the end of 2007. Wind released Tellas’s standalone pro-forma unaudited financial figures for Q1 2008, which included sales of EUR29.54 million (up from EUR27.85 million in Q1 2007), and a net loss of EUR11.68 million (EUR4.97 million). Tellas’s costs of sales and services increased by 36.7% to EUR26.8 million in the quarter, compared to EUR19.6 million in the first quarter of 2007. Activation and monthly access costs increased by EUR3.6 million primarily due to the increase of its local loop unbundling (LLU) customer base, whilst net financial expenses, including loan interest, also increased. Tellas’s quarterly pro forma EBITDA fell to -EUR3.6 million, compared to a positive EBITDA of EUR300,000 in the year-ago period.

Elsewhere, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, headed by Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, has announced that it remains committed to sell a 10% stake in its Italian-based subsidiary Weather Investments, the parent of Wind Hellas and Italian telco Wind. Sawiris says he is pressing ahead with the sale to private equity firms despite legal wranglings involving the holding company that will not be resolved until early next year.