On Cue

Feb. 17 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) said Friday, group net profits for the fourth quarter of 2005 topped Rs. 604 million, despite continued losses from its mobile subsidiary and a levy on international calls. The cash rich dominant fixedline operator posted net profits of Rs. 3,093 million, while revenues surged 10 percent to Rs. 32,515 million for the year ended 2005.

During the fourth quarter of 2004, the telco posted a Rs. 683 million net loss, dragged down by Rs. 330 million tsunami related costs.

œThe results are nothing exciting, though Mobitel [the cellular subsidiary] remains a problem, said telco analyst Dilhara Haputhanthri, of CT Smith Stockbrokers.

For the full-year Mobitel posted a Rs. 1.26 billion loss.

During 2005, SLT paid out Rs. 1,550 million (Rs. 485 million during the fourth quarter) by way of tax on international incoming calls.

SLT is required to share US$ 0.038 per international incoming traffic minute with the government, which goes into a fund to subsidise rural connectivity.

The telco, which carries a AAA (sri) rating from Fitch Ratings Lanka, controls 86 percent of Sri Lanka’s fixed-line market and a 15 percent of the cellular market.

Ja