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VimpelCom swings to Q4 net profit

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MOSCOW, March 6 - Telecoms group Vimpelcom reported a fourth-quarter net profit of $801 million, beating expectations, after a $381 million net loss in the same period of 2011, in part boosted by revaluing its stake in Russian cellphone retailer Euroset.

The Amsterdam-based operator, with assets in Russia, Italy and various emerging markets, said it adjusted the fair value of its stake in Euroset by $606 million.

Vimpelcom took equal control of Euroset in December, increasing its stake by 0.1 percent to 50 percent, after No.2 Russian operator MegaFon bought the other 50 percent stake from tycoon Alexander Mamut.

The net financial result for VimpelCom, which operates under the Beeline trademark, was above a consensus forecast of $470 million from analysts polled by Prime news agency.

VimpelCom’s fourth-quarter 2012 revenue grew by 3 percent year-on-year to $6 billion while EBITDA climbed 13 percent to $2.4 billion, with EBITDA margin up 3.3 percentage points to 41.1 percent.

VimpelCom’s 2012 net profit quadrupled year-on-year to $2.1 billion, while revenue was down by 2 percent to $23 billion. EBITDA for the year rose by 3 percent to $9.8 billion, with the EBITDA margin rising to 42.4 percent from 40.6 percent a year earlier.

“Our 2012 results, with clear operational improvements, demonstrate our ability to deliver on our strategy and objectives. In 2013 we expect to deliver results in line with our enhanced Value Agenda objectives for 2013-2015,” VimpelCom CEO Jo Lunder said.

VimpelCom's total mobile subscriber base grew by 5 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter 2012 to 214 million.

Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman's Alfa-Group and Norway's Telenor are majority stake holders in Vimpelcom which had 214 million mobile subscribers at the end of 2012.

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