Announcing its financial results for the nine months ended 30 September 2009, Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) revealed that its consolidated revenues rose by 2% year-on-year to LKR35.9 billion (USD314 million) whilst its group net profit plunged by 74% to LKR1.2 billion, caused by increases in depreciation, operational costs, finance costs and income tax liabilities at cellular unit Mobitel due to the expiry of a Board of Investment ‘tax holiday’. The company said ADSL fixed broadband turnover for the period grew by 12%, partly offsetting the ongoing decline in traditional PSTN sales. Mobitel increased its mobile subscriber base by 42% year-on-year to 3.2 million at the end of September 2009, whilst the cellco’s revenues in the first three-quarters of 2009 were 34% higher than the corresponding period of 2008.
In related news, SLT is investing LKR3.5 billion in a fibre-optic link along the A9 road connecting to the far north of the country. The north-south highway is expected to be reopened to civilians soon following the military defeat of northern rebels in May, in a government move aimed at signifying the island’s reunification. Greg Young, CEO of SLT, said: ‘There’s obviously a lot of commerce reopening in the northern areas. We are seeing very substantial calling patterns by customers.’