UPDATE 1-Data demand helps C&W Comms H1 earnings edge up

Thu Nov 8, 2012 7:55am GMT

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LONDON Nov 8 (Reuters) - London-listed telecoms operator Cable & Wireless Communications posted a 2 percent rise in earnings for the first half helped by strong growth in mobile data.

The group, which has operations in Panama, the Caribbean, Macau and Monaco & Islands, reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of $445 million on revenue 1 percent higher at $1.43 billion, slightly ahead of average market forecasts.

Chief executive Tony Rice said it was a respectable performance against a backdrop of tough market for telecoms companies. The group reiterated that core earnings for the year would be in line with 2011/12.

"Significant investments in high speed, mobile data capable networks across the Group last year are already delivering returns, and we expect the growth to continue," he said.

"Voice revenue, however, continues to decline and we are delivering on our plan to reduce costs to mitigate this."

C&W Comms is looking to retrench to its core operations in the Caribbean and Central America, and it in talks to sell its Monaco & Islands unit to Batelco and its stake in CTM in Macau to fellow investor Citic Telecom International.

It said on Thursday that it was making progress in its strategy to reshape the business.

The market expected the company to report core earnings of $441 million on revenue of $1,418 million for the six months to end-Sept, according to a company-supplied consensus of 12 analysts.

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