November 22, 2017 / 7:38 AM / a year ago

Israel's Cellcom Q3 profit, revenue fall

TEL AVIV, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Cellcom , Israel’s largest mobile operator, reported a 3 percent drop in third quarter net profit, weighed down by lower revenue and higher taxes.

Cellcom said on Wednesday it earned 32 million shekels ($9.1 million) in the quarter, down from 33 million a year earlier. Revenue slipped 1.7 percent to 975 million shekels, with the company attributing it to price erosion from competition.

The company was forecast to earn 41 million shekels on revenue of 968 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Israel’s mobile phone industry was shaken up in 2012 with the entry of a host of new operators, sparking a price war that led to steep drops in subscribers, revenue and profit for Cellcom and other incumbents.

Cellcom’s lower-cost Internet-based TV service has recruited 154,000 subscribers, up 56 percent from a year earlier and representing more than 10 percent of the Israeli TV market.

“Cellcom TV operations shifted to profitability and to a positive contribution to the company’s results in the third quarter,” Cellcom CEO Nir Sztern said.

It also has 206,000 customers for its internet services.

Cellcom’s mobile subscriber base slipped 0.6 percent to 2.805 million in the quarter.

The company said its board once again decided not to declare a dividend for the quarter given the intensified competition and in order to strengthen its balance sheet. ($1 = 3.5210 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer)

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