América Móvil, Latin America’s largest telecoms company by subscribers, on Thursday reported a 37.5 per cent surge in net profit for the first quarter, beating analysts’ forecasts.

The company, controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the world’s richest individual, according to Forbes, said net profit rose to 32.6bn pesos ($2.4bn) during the quarter compared with about 27bn pesos, on average, that analysts had expected.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased 6.3 per cent during the quarter to 67.5bn pesos.

Revenue totalled 192bn pesos, up 12.4 per cent compared with the first three months of 2011. América Móvil said fixed-line revenue grew 7.1 per cent while wireless revenue increased 15.8 per cent.

The better than expected results came as the company, which operates in 18 countries throughout the region, said it had benefited from the consolidation of Net Serviços, a Brazilian cable company. Favourable currency movements also helped push up the figures.

The company also reported a 7.7 per cent increase in its client base compared with the same period a year ago. It has 306m accesses, which includes 246m wireless subscribers, 30m landlines and 16m broadband accesses.

América Móvil has more fixed-line telephone customers in Brazil than in its home market of Mexico. According to the quarterly results, it had 25.2m fixed-line customers in Brazil compared with Mexico where fixed-line revenue fell 3.1 per cent and voice revenues plummeted 9.8 per cent.

That fall came about following a significant lowering of call termination rates between fixed-line and cellular phones.

Mr Slim’s Telcel, which controls about 70 per cent of Mexico’s cellular phone market, and Telmex, which has about 80 per cent of all fixed lines in the country, have faced a tough time at home recently.

Last year, for example, regulators reduced the fees that companies can charge competitors to complete a call to Mr Slim’s networks. Mexico’s competition authority also fined Telcel $1bn for “monopolistic practices”. The company is contesting the fine.

On Thursday, América Móvil said it now had 86.8m clients in Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy. Total revenue there was R$7.7bn, or 9.6 per cent higher than during the same period last year.

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