Kazakhstan mobile telecommunications provider Kcell's net income fell by 19.5% to KZT13,434m in the year to the end of December despite a strong fourth quarter. Full year net sales increased by 0.1% to KZT 147,229m but service revenue was down 0.5% at KZT136,591m. EBITDA, excluding non-recurring items, decreased by 1.2% to KZT57,321m and the EBITDA margin decreased to 38.9% from 39.4%. Operating income, excluding non-recurring items, grew by 1.3% to KZT34,174m. In the fourth quarter, net sales remained stable at KZT38,154M (KZT38,223m) and service revenue grew by 0.4% to KZT34,914m. EBITDA, excluding non-recurring items, increased by 11.2% to KZT 16,110m with margins rising to 42.2% (37.9%). Operating income, excluding non-recurring items, increased by 19.9% to KZT10,015m and net income increased to KZT5,173m from KZT1,051m. Chief executive Arti Ots said: 'In the fourth quarter of 2017, we saw further momentum in our financial performance. 'Service revenue increased over the previous year for the first time in three years, whilst EBITDA for the quarter was 11% higher year-on-year, driven by tight cost control and the ongoing migration of our subscribers to new tariff plans. 'The B2B business continued to deliver notable growth in revenue, while revenue from business solutions rose 45% in the fourth quarter over the previous year. 'Our portfolio of new business also grew substantially and we now have more than five hundred thousand subscribers to our music, TV, books and financial services. 'We made strong progress in the rollout of our 4G/LTE network in 2017. Kcell's 4G/LTE services have achieved population coverage of 49%, with almost 40% of total Kcell traffic now carried on the 4G/LTE network. 'Throughout 2017 we focused on simplifying our product portfolio and automating customer processes, making notable progress in our digital transformation programme to bring greater efficiency and effectiveness across all Kcell's operations. 'In December 2017, we celebrated the five-year anniversary of our listing on the KASE and London Stock Exchange. 'During the past five years, we have seen clear benefits from operating as a listed entity with an international shareholder base and our strong commitment to international best practice continues across all our operations and in our corporate governance.'
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