Australia's second largest telco Optus reports lift in first half earnings

16:55, November 11, 2010      

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Australia's second-largest telecommunications provider Optus on Thursday reported an 18.6 percent lift in first half earnings, mainly driven by strong mobile growth and prudent cost management.

Optus said that its growing mobile phone customer base would continue to add momentum after helping deliver a double-digit lift in first half net profit.

The company said net profit for the six months to September 30, came in at 345 million AU dollars (347 million U.S. dollars), up 18.6 percent from 291 million AU dollars (292 million U.S. dollars) in the prior corresponding period.

Net profit rose 15.2 percent for the quarter, Optus said in a statement on Thursday.

The company said it added 189,000 new mobile customers in the three months to September but faced a fight from larger rival Telstra Corporation Ltd, which has earmarked about 450 million AU dollars (452 million U.S. dollars) to gain market share from its rivals.

"It's certainly true that when a major competitor drops half a billion dollars into the market place in an attempt to recover some ground you will have an impact," Optus chief executive Paul O 'Sullivan said.

"But I think our numbers show that we are still bashing through and I fully expect that it's going to be a very competitive marketplace over the next six months," he added.

Optus's mobile division generated two-thirds of the company's revenue, as well as and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).



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