Partner swings to Q4 loss, stops dividends

Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) swung to a net loss for the fourth quarter and saw its full-year profit fall 60 percent, and has stopped the distribution of dividends, after already distributing 80% of the 2011 profit. The cellular carrier's chairman Haim Romano said that the company has cut 1,100 jobs since October.
Fourth quarter revenue fell 10% to NIS 1.59 billion ($416 million) from NIS 1.76 billion for the corresponding quarter of 2010, and fell 25% if Smile's revenue is excluded. The company swung to a net loss of NIS 188 million ($49 million) (NIS 1.21 per share) for the fourth quarter, compared with a net profit of NIS 304 million for the corresponding quarter.
Full-year revenue rose 5% to NIS 7 billion ($1.83 billion) in 2011 from NIS 6.67 billion in 2010. The 2011 figure includes NIS 888 million ($232 million) following the acquisition of 012 Smile Telecom Ltd. in March; excluding Smile's contribution, revenue fell 8% in 2011. Net profit fell 60% to NIS 443 million ($116 million) (NIS 2.85 per share) in 2011 from NIS 1.24 billion in 2010. Service revenue fell 8% to NIS 5.22 billion in 2011 from NIS 5.66 billion in 2010.
Cellular revenue fell 24% to NIS 4.25 billion from NIS 5.58 billion, while fixed-line revenue rose 10-fold to NIS 1.13 billion from NIS 164 million. Partner attributes the fall in cellular revenue to the 71% cut in intern-network connectivity fees and 94% cut in SMS connectivity fees on January 1, 2011, which cost the company NIS 1.08 billion in revenue.
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