Apr 26, 2010 (LBO) – Hutchison Telecom International’s Sri Lanka unit lost mobile phone subscribers in 2009 amid intense competition in the market, according to the group’s annual report released to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The number of mobile phone subscribers of Hutchison Telecom Lanka shrank by 12 percent to 779,000 although it continued to expand coverage and market its services.

“In Sri Lanka, Hutchison Telecom Lanka faced a difficult operating environment and the customer base decreased to 779,000 customers from 887,000 last year,” the annual report said.

Turnover was down to 61 million Hong Kong dollars in 2009, compared to 160 Hong Kong dollars million in 2008.

“LBITDA (loss before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization) was 94 million Hong Kong dollars, compared to an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization) of 37 million dollars in 2008,” the report said.

Competition in Sri Lanka’s mobile market has intensified in recent years resulting in a price war and losses among players.

The mobile market is dominated by Dialog Telekom, a unit of Malaysia’s Axiata, and includes Mobitel, a unit of the dominant fixed access operator Sri Lanka Telecom, Etis