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Telecom Argentina's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Furthermore, strong drought affected the foreign margin (ph) in the country in the recent months and they imply lower commodity outputs and somehow lower (inaudible) exports for 2012, hence affecting the country’s trade balance. Subscriber consumption remains strong, although higher real interest rates and the reduction in public subsidies that could limit the performance of that consumption. (Inaudible) are starting from lower levels than last year as inflation ended lower than it was expected for the year at the beginning of 2011. Nonetheless, the reduction in energy and transit subsidies that may result in higher tariff and fees could add pressure on pricing in the economy.

National fiscal surplus suffered an important deterioration due to a strong increase in public spending, although as mentioned before, the government tends to tackle the problem by turning subsidies. Imports increased by 31% year-on-year in 2011. But in the last quarter strong deceleration was evidenced partly due to the increasing restrictions on imports. Furthermore, capital outflows decelerated in the last month of the year. Thanks to higher interest rates and the effects of regulations in the FX market that includes a preapproval of the tax office in certain treasury transaction.

In this challenging macroeconomic context for Argentina, our company continues to report strong growth in results, both in terms of businesses and financials as we will enlighten during this conference call.

Having gone through this introduction let me pass the call to Franco Bertone, who will go over the business highlights. Franco?

Franco Bertone

Well, thank you, Pedro. Good morning to everyone. In 2011, we posted a solid successful performance in mobile net adds and delivering a healthy growth in the fixed business.

In slide five, we highlight our Personal brand restyling that was executed in the fourth quarter of this year that strengthened our market positioning and contributed to deliver an outstanding performance in the postpaid segment in the quarter. We also want to bring to your attention the improvement in our Paraguayan operation, both in markets and financial performance. Throughout 2011, we continued (inaudible) into voice with ADSL and mobile incoming bundle, as well as introducing new products that helped delivering a 28% revenue growth in our fixed broadband services and sustain a marginal growth in the fixed line segment. In the fourth quarter, strong commercial and advertising diluted margins. Nonetheless throughout the year, our operational and financial performance exceeded the 2011 guidance we disclosed the market a year-ago.

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