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Q3 Beeline revenues disappoint

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THIRD quarter results for mobile operator Beeline fell “below expectations”, according to its parent company Vimpelcom, after the provider saw revenues slide about 10 percent during a three-month period.

Operating revenue, income and average revenue per user, all declined from the second to the third quarter this year, according to statistics released late last week by Amsterdam-based Vimpelcom – which operates in both Vietnam and Cambodia.

In South-East Asia, Vimpelcom saw declines across the board. Vietnamese operations were not included in its financial results, according to a statement accompanying the data.

Operating revenue fell around 10 percent quarter on quarter, from US$5.5 million to $5 million. Operating income, before depreciation and amortization, fell around 8.6 percent from a loss of $8.1 million in the second quarter, to a loss of $8.8 million in the third quarter.

ARPU shrunk for the third successive quarter, reaching $3.2 per user, from $3.4 in quarter two and $3.5 in quarter one.

Subscriber numbers slipped to 505,000 from 525,000.

The statistics, however, did show a stark improvement when compared to Vimpelcom’s regional operations a year earlier – soon after its May launch of Beeline Cambodia.

In the third quarter of 2009, its South East Asian operating revenue was just $2.4 million while operating loss, before depreciation and amortization, was $13.2 million.

Despite the results, Vimpelcom remained positive about Beeline’s future in the market it described as having an “adverse regulatory context”.

“Although the quarterly results were slightly below our expectations, we are confident that our business in Cambodia will be on track by the end of the year,” a report accompanying the statistics stated.

A Beeline spokeswomen declined to comment yesterday. Emailed requests to company officials went unanswered.

Globally, Vimpelcom’s operating revenues grew 6.9 percent quarter on quarter to $2.824 billion. Its net income rose 48.2 percent in quarter three, to $495.9 million. The group is currently seeking a $6.5 billion merger with Orascom Telecom Holding and Weather Investments.

The companies have yet to sign a final agreement to create the world’s fifth largest mobile-phone company, as Orascom tries to resolve a dispute with the
Algerian government over its local unit, Djezzy.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BLOOMBERG

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