JERUSALEM, March 30 Bezeq Israel Telecom
reported a 50 percent drop in quarterly net profit,
weighed down by an early retirement provision and other one-time
Bezeq, Israel's largest telecoms group, said on Thursday it
earned 185 million shekels ($51 million) in the fourth quarter,
down from 369 million a year earlier and below a forecast of 258
million shekels in a Reuters poll of analysts.
It noted that it had one-off items of more than 200 million
shekels in the quarter.
Revenue dipped 4 percent to 2.5 billion shekels.
Bezeq, which is facing regulatory uncertainty regarding its
ability to merge its units, estimated 2017 net profit of 1.4
billion shekels, compared with net profit in 2016 of 1.24
It declared a dividend of 578 million shekels for the second
half of 2016, or a distribution of 100 percent of net profit.
In Bezeq's fixed-line segment, where most of its growth
stems, fourth-quarter profit dropped 31 percent.
Its Pelephone unit, Israel's third-largest mobile operator
which faces stiff competition, saw a 73 percent fall in
fourth-quarter profit to 3 million shekels, as its subscriber
base slipped to 2.4 million in 2016 from 2.65 million in 2015.
($1 = 3.6206 shekels)
(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen)