Israel's third largest cellular carrier Partner Communications (Nasdaq, LSE:PTNR) will record earnings of NIS 772 million for the fourth quarter of 2000, says a recent report released by Swiss bank UBS Warburg.
Moreover, the report says that in spite of the massive fourth-quarter influx of new members, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) will stay positive.
Partner's CEO Amikam Cohen said this week that Partner will maintain positive EBITDA, first achieved in the third quarter of 2000. USB believes that fourth quarter EBITDA will reach NIS 6.1 million, constituting a 33% increase over Q3's NIS 4.6 million.
Recruitment of new subscribers creates major one-time charges. Partner reported record recruitment in the fourth quarter, enrolling 201,000 new subscribers. UBS therefore sees the expected positive EBITDA as a significant achievement.
These days, hardly a single analyst report goes without mention of the region's political situation's influence on industry. UBS notes that Partner's income will be lower due to unrest in the West Bank. Investors should be aware that average income per customer (ARPU) from roaming services, which reached $9, could drop dramatically.
The unrest in the region also reduces income from airtime. Less people are wandering around, and are spending less time talking on their cellular. UBS predicts that fourth-quarter airtime will drop to 351 minutes compared with 399 minutes recorded for the third quarter.