Little Irritation

Sri Lanka Telecom’s group net profits fell 27 percent for the nine months ended Sept. 30, weighed down by a new levy on international calls. Sri Lanka Telecom’s group net profits fell 27 percent for the nine months ended Sept. 30, weighed down by a new levy on international calls. The cash rich operator posted net profits of Rs. 1,302 mn, while revenues surged 15 percent to Rs. 22.05 bn, for the nine months ended Sept 30, 2004.

SLT had to fork out Rs. 2,067 mn by way of a new tax – International telecommunication operators’ levy – which kicked with retrospective from March 3, 2003. SLT is required to share US$ 0.038 per international incoming traffic minute with the government, for rural connectivity.

However, the bill provides for a 2/3 refund of the levy, whenever an operator links up with rural areas.

“The refund in respect of rolling out the network in rural areas has been estimated at Rs. 1,378 mn but has not been recognised in the financial statements, as the regulations for such refund have not been finalised,” SLT told shareholders on Wed.

The dominant operator introduced a high-tech billing system and underwent a