(Adds financial details, CEO comment)
LISBON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Portuguese telecoms firm NOS on Wednesday posted a near 8% drop in third-quarter net profit to 44.1 million euros ($51.7 million), but its customer numbers rose in what the company saw as a sign of recovery after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NOS, which also has a media business that includes cinemas, said consolidated revenue fell 6.4% to 346.9 million euros in July-September from a year ago, while its telecoms revenue dropped only 1.4% to 342.7 million euros.
It added 163,000 new mobile telecoms customers compared with a year ago, to a total of 4.97 million at the end of September, and its revenue generating units (RGU) - either individuals or businesses - rose by around 300,000 to 9.88 million.
“The third quarter of this year marks the beginning of the recovery for NOS after a period intensely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chief Executive Officer Miguel Almeida said in a statement, also noting a much smaller telecom revenue drop after a 7.8% slide in the previous quarter.
NOS said its consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) contracted 7% to 160.6 million euros. Still, EBITDA in its telecommunications segment slipped just 1% to 155.5 million euros and the EBITDA margin there improved 0.2 percentage point to 45.4%.
NOS said its cinema network took a big hit from the pandemic with theatres closed from mid-March throughout the second quarter, and although they reopened on July 2, big premieres have been delayed and there were additional health and safety restrictions in place for cinema-goers. ($1 = 0.8535 euro) (Reporting by Sergio Goncalves in Lisbon, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Matthew Lewis)
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