Milan, - Omnitel Pronto Italia —
Italy's first private GSM operator, closed the third quarter of fiscal year 1998 with a net profit of Lit.264 billion. With the results from this quarter, Omnitel's net profit for the first nine months of the year reached Lit. 498 billion as compared to a loss of Lit. 167 billion posted during the same period in 1997.
A net profit of Lit.498 billion was posted after the accrual of Lit.37 billion in taxes (IRAP). Income taxes benefitted from the tax losses carried forward by the company from its first years of operation.
Revenues for the first nine months reached Lit.2,953 billion, a growth of 148% as compared to the same period last year, confirming the positive trend set during the first six months of the year. Of these revenues, Lit.2,578 billion was generated from service revenues, representing a 167% increase over the same period last year.
EBITDA (Earnings Before Income Tax, Depreciation & Ammortization) was Lit.962 billion, compared to Lit.154 billion posted for the first nine months of 1997. Capital investment during the first nine months of the year continued to grow, reaching Lit.752 billion compared to Lit. 440 billion invested over the same period last year.
Highlights of the third quarter of fiscal year 1998 included significant growth in the consumer segment, due mostly to a strong summer season, with pre-paid GSM cards representing 90% of all new customer activations.
On October 3, the total number of customers broke the 5 million mark, making Omnitel Europe's third largest GSM operator, according to "Financial Times Mobile Communication." During 1998 the company captured 2.6 million new customers, more than the combined number of customers for the previous two years. Today, Omnitel holds a 42% market share for Italian GSM and a 28% share of the total Italian wireless market.
The company's organization continues to grow. On September 30, the total number of employees was 4,900, an increase of 1,800 people compared to the same date last year. Over half of the company's employees work in the company's award winning Customer Care Centers.
With the opening of Omnitel's two new Customer Care Centers in Pisa on October 26, and in Catania this November, the number of employees working at the company's seven Customer Care Centers will reach 3,000.
Omnitel offers customers the ability to roam seamlessly throughout 57 countries world-wide through agreements with 87 different carriers.
Commenting on Omnitel's first nine months of 1998, Pietro Guindani, CFO of Omnitel Pronto Italia said, "It is important to note that Omnitel has succeeded in keeping its cost structure well under control despite rapid growth and the size of its investment plans. This makes Omnitel a financially sound company in addition to being highly innovative and capable of offering an excellent level of service to its customers."
Omnitel's major shareholders include Bell Atlantic, Olivetti, Mannesmann, AirTouch, and CCIL.
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In billions of Lit. 30 September '98 30 September '97 % change Revenues 2,953 1,193 +148% - from service revenues 2,578 966 +167% - other revenues 375 227 + 65% EBITDA 962 154 6.2 EBITDA % of service revenues 37% 16% +21% Net profit (loss) 498 (167) N.A. Net proft (loss) % of service revenues 19% (17%) +36%