Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has reported a 17.5% drop in its full year revenues for 2009 to USD9.8 billion, while profits halved to USD1 billion. For the fourth quarter of 2009 revenues were up 3.8% compared to the previous quarter, although the company booked a net loss of USD26 million. The quarterly loss was put down to a series of one-off charges, including the write off of USD368 million in investments, most of which is attributable to the re-valuation of the investment in Svyazinvest, held via Comstar-UTS, in which MTS last year bought a 62% stake in 2009. The company said it would have reported a fourth quarter adjusted income of USD301 million without the impairments.
‘Looking ahead, forecasted economic growth in Russia and the CIS could translate into definitive improvements in our markets of operation,’ chief executive Mikhail Shamolin said in a statement. He is forecasting an OIBDA margin in the range of 43% to 45% in 2010, against 45.5% in 2009. Capital expenditure will account for 22%-24% of sales in 2010 after USD2.33 billion, or 23.7% of sales, in 2009.