Certain factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including the risks detailed in one, the company’s earnings release announcing first quarter 2012 financial and operating results and the related presentations, two, the company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2011, and three, other public filings made by the company with the SEC, each of which are posted on the company’s website at www.vimpelcom.com and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
If you have not received a copy of the first quarter 2012 financial and operating results release, please contact investor relations at +31207977234 and it will be forwarded to you. In addition, the press release and the earnings presentation, each of which includes reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures presented on this conference call can be downloaded from the company’s website.
At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Jo Lunder, Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom. Jo, please go ahead.
Jo O. LunderThank you. Good afternoon to those in Europe and good morning to our guests from the United States and welcome to our first quarter earnings presentation. Let me start by introducing the members of the team sitting with me here in Amsterdam. We have Henk van Dalen, our Chief Financial Officer, who will be covering the financials in detail later on the call and Gerbrand Nijman, our Head of Investor Relations. Let me start with the highlights for the quarter. We are pleased with the progress we’re making. The group performance led to almost 6% organic growth in revenues year-over-year, reaching $5.6 billion. If we exclude forex impact, EBITDA increased 5% compared to the same period last year, leading to a margin of 31%. We’re pleased with a positive trend shift in EBITDA growth in Russia, which rose 9% organically. Revenue and EBITDA also showed strong growth in Asia and Africa led by impressive performance in Pakistan. We achieved strong subscriber growth in the first quarter with an increase of 12% reaching 209 million mobile subscribers.