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Russia's MTS raises profit guidance, sticks to dividend promise
August 28, 2017 / 1:17 PM / 4 months ago

Russia's MTS raises profit guidance, sticks to dividend promise

* Sees full-year OIBDA rising 4 pct

* Cuts capex guidance as rouble strengthens

MOSCOW, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Russia’s biggest mobile operator MTS raised its full-year profit forecast on Monday and confirmed plans to pay 52 billion roubles ($890 million) in dividends during 2017.

MTS, controlled by the Sistema conglomerate, expects operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) to grow by at least 4 percent in 2017, having previously said it could rise or fall by 2 percent.

“Positive changes in consumer behaviour and business environment, as well as a relative macroeconomic stability in the first half, allow us to raise our full-year forecast,” MTS said in a statement after posting second-quarter OIBDA up 8.2 percent at 44 billion roubles.

It did not comment on last week’s court decision to order Sistema to pay more than $2 billion to Rosneft in a dispute over oil producer Bashneft. Previously, MTS said the ruling did not affect its strategy or dividends.

Revenues grew 0.7 percent to 106.8 billion roubles and its core profit margin increased to 41.2 percent from 38.3 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

MTS also cut its 2017 capital expenditure forecast to 75 billion roubles from 80 billion roubles, citing a stronger Russian currency.

“MTS intends to deliver on its promise and return 26 roubles per share through dividend payments, with the total amount of 52 billion roubles during the 2017 calendar year,” it said. ($1 = 58.4211 roubles) (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Anastasia Teterevleva; Editing by Dmitry Solovyov and David Goodman)

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