Millicom International Cellular (MIC) has posted a better than expected quarterly profit, boosted by cost controls and higher value services, and said the economic outlook had stabilised. Chief financial officer Francois-Xavier Roger said the macroeconomic situation remained uncertain, but strong results over the past two quarters meant the firm might beat its own guidance this year. ‘Maybe our guidance is, potentially, when looking at the last two quarters, a little bit conservative, but we are still early in the year so we want to be on the safe side’ Xavier-Roger told Reuters.
The group said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 20% to USD424 million. Revenues for the three months ended 31 March 2010 were USD905 million, up 16% compared to the first quarter of 2009. It said that despite a plan, announced earlier this month, to return USD800 million to shareholders, it still had the muscle to make acquisitions, should anything suitable turn up. ‘You can certainly conclude from that that we do not have any significant acquisition that we are planning in the short term, otherwise we would have kept the cash,’ Xavier-Roger said. ‘But we are still looking at different options in the market.’ He said Millicom was interested in purchases in both Africa and Latin America, but would only do deals if they fit the company’s strategy of being a leading player in the market concerned. ‘As far as Africa is concerned, we are still seeing opportunities for consolidation because there are too many players in the market,’ Xavier-Roger said.