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MegaFon earnings top estimates on rising wireless data sales

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MOSCOW, Jul 30 (Bloomberg) -- PJSC MegaFon, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s phone company, said second-quarter earnings rose 1.3 percent, beating analysts’ estimates, on higher revenue from wireless data services.

Operating income before depreciation and amortization rose to 34.7 billion rubles ($588 million), compared with an estimate of 33.8 billion rubles, the average of eight analysts’ predictions compiled by Bloomberg. Sales fell 0.7 percent to 76.1 billion rubles.

Oibda reached 45.6 percent of sales compared with 44.7 percent a year earlier, due to cost reductions, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Moscow-based MegaFon expects profitability to decline in the second half due to intensified competition and potential foreign-exchange losses, said Chief Executive Officer Ivan Tavrin.

“It’s impressive that the company managed to widen its Oibda margin amid such a challenging environment,” said Alexander Vengranovich, an analyst at Otkritie Capital.

The company reiterated its full-year guidance of no sales growth and an Oibda margin of at least 40 percent of revenue.

MegaFon, Russia’s second-biggest carrier part-owned by Sweden’s TeliaSonera AB, has been losing leadership in mobile-data revenue growth to its bigger competitor OAO Mobile TeleSystems in recent quarters. MegaFon reported a 20 percent growth in second-quarter data revenue.

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