Telefonica Q4 Profit Up On Latin American Markets

CIARAN GILES

MADRID (AP) â¿¿ Spanish telephone company Telefonica said Friday its net profit doubled in the last quarter due to strong growth in Latin America.

The company said net profit was ⿬2.7 billion ($3.6 billion) in the fourth quarter, up from ⿬1.3 billion for the same period last year.

Net profit was ⿬5.4 billion ($7.2 billion) for January to December, down 47 percent from the previous year, when it enjoyed a one-off gain, Telefonica said in a statement.

The company said its net profits were also dampened by ⿬1.9 billion ($2.5 billion) in layoff costs in Spain.

Overall operating income before depreciation and amortization, or OIBDA, fell to ⿬20.2 billion ($26.9 billion) in 2011 from ⿬25.8 billion the previous year. For the quarter it rose 10.2 percent to ⿬5.96 billion ($7.93 billion).

Telefonica said sales for the quarter were down 1.8 percent to ⿬16.2 billion ($21.5 billion). They rose 3.5 percent for the year to ⿬62.8 billion ($83.5 billion).

Revenue in Latin America was up 2.5 percent to ⿬7.7 billion ($10.2 billion) in the quarter and increased 13.5 percent to ⿬29.2 billion ($38.8 billion) for the whole year. OIBDA for the region was up 7.9 percent at ⿬3.2 billion ($4.3 billion).

Telefonica said revenue from the region now accounts for 47 percent of the total. Of the company's 306 million clients, 201 million were now in Latin America, it said.

In contrast, revenue in Spain, which accounts for a quarter of the total, fell by 9.5 percent to ⿬4.2 billion ($5.6 billion).

Spain, with nearly 23 percent unemployment, looks set to fall back into its second recession in three years.

OIBDA for the country was down 5.1 percent at ⿬1.7 billion ($2.3 billion), the company said. It does not give a regional breakdown of profits.

Telefonica's shares were up 0.2 percent at ⿬12.9 ($17.2) in trading Friday in Madrid.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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