(Add detail, full-year outlook)
ATHENS May 11 Greece's biggest telecoms
operator OTE posted on Thursday a 1.7 percent drop in
first-quarter core profit, hurt by tough conditions in its
economically stagnant home market and in Romania.
OTE, the former national monopoly now 40 percent owned and
managed by Germany's Deutsche Telekom, has lost
market share to smaller rivals in recent years.
A sluggish economy in Greece after seven years long debt
crisis and three international bailouts in turn for tax hikes
and wage cuts has also dented operations.
But hefty spending in new high-speed VDSL broadband services
and a fast-growing pay-TV business have helped the group win
back fixed-line customers.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
(EBITDA) came in at 304.1 million euros ($331 million) in the
first three months of the year, down from 309.3 million euros a
The figure strips out one-off items.
Sales were almost flat at 929 million euros, with Greek and
Romanian fixed-line business offsetting a revenue decline from
Greek, Romanian and Albanian mobile operations.
OTE said first-quarter trends will remain "largely
unchanged" for the rest of the year and conditions in Romanian
and Albanian business were still challenging. But it will stick
to its investment plan with total spending of 700 million euros
for the full year to improve its offering.
It kept its outlook for free cash flow of 250 million euros
this year, down from 459 million euros in 2016, as a result of
increased investment and income tax outlays.
($1 = 0.9192 euros)
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou)