Millicom International Cellular (MIC), the wireless telecoms group with operations in 16 countries across Asia, Latin America and Africa, has posted worse than expected first quarter core earnings, cut its CAPEX forecast and said it could sell part or all of its Asian operations. The operator said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 11% to USD376 million from a year earlier. Net profit slipped from USD158 million in 1Q 2008 to USD140 million in the most recent period, while revenues rose by 6% to USD846 million. CAPEX for 2009 has been revised downwards from USD1 billion to USD850 million.
The company said it will review its Asian operations, a process which ‘could lead to a full or partial divestment of our business in the region’. Operations in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Laos accounted for 4.5 million subscribers at the end of March 2009. The Asian business saw revenues increase 7% to USD68 million in the first quarter, but EBITDA fell 3% due to competition. Across all operations Millicom had 33.6 million subscribers at the end of the period, up from 26.07 million a year earlier.