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América Móvil, Latin America’s biggest telecoms company controlled by mogul Carlos Slim, swung to a nearly 6bn peso ($286m) fourth-quarter loss, a drop of 138 per cent compared with the fourth quarter in 2015 after a leap in financing costs at the end of last year fuelled by the weaker peso.
Full-year profits fell 75.3 per cent to 8.65bn pesos, from 35.1bn in 2015. But the weak peso also helped push up revenues by 16.9 per cent in peso terms in the fourth quarter to 269bn pesos, and 9.1 per cent in 2016 to just short of 1tn pesos, writes Jude Webber in Mexico City.
“The relatively high revenue increases seen in Mexican peso terms are to a large extent the consequence of the Mexican peso having depreciated vis-à-vis the currencies of all other operations,” the company said.
Fourth-quarter earnings before interest, tax, appreciation and amortisation in the fourth quarter was 65.7bn pesos, a rise of 2.9 per cent and totalled 256bn pesos in 2016, a fall of 4.1 per cent. América Móvil said year-on-year comparisons were affected by a 17.7 per cent drop in Telekom Austria Group (TAG) but that adjusting for non-recurring items in the fourth quarter, TAG EBITDA increased 1.7 per cent. At constant exchange rates, EBITDA fell 8.1 per cent, it said.
The company said in a statement that several operations, including Mexico, Colombia, the US, Puerto Rico and Peru posted their best service income growth figures in at least four quarters.
Mobile data revenues shot up 11.7 per cent. Since the second quarter of 2016 mobile data has been the company’s top revenue generator with an 81 per cent increase in annual terms in the annual consumption of megabytes per user. “We have been preparing our networks to enable this transformation and offer high quality services with the fastest speeds using the latest technologies. Mobile data services have become our main competitive advantage,” AMX said.
Mr Slim last month blasted the continued existence of asymmetrical regulations. “We are the only country in the world in which we compete with the biggest player in the world [by revenue; AT&T of the US] … and we have to subsidise it. For me, this is totally irrational,” he said.