March 2, 2017 / 8:57 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Greece's ΟΤΕ fourth-quarter core profit falls 1.4 pct

* OTE Q4 core profit at 343.7 million euros

* To pay 0.16 euro/share dividend, up 60 pct year/year

* Hefty investment, income tax outlays to hurt 2017 cash flow (Adds more detail)

ATHENS, March 2 (Reuters) - Greece’s biggest telecoms operator OTE posted on Thursday a 1.4 percent drop in fourth-quarter core profit, hurt by tough conditions in Greece and Romania.

OTE, the former national monopoly now 40 percent owned and managed by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, has lost market share to smaller rivals in recent years, while Greek tax increases have also hit profits.

But significant investments in new high-speed VDSL broadband services and a fast-growing pay-TV business have helped the group win back fixed-line customers.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at 343.7 million euros ($362.1 million) in the fourth quarter, down from 348.5 million euros a year earlier.

The figure strips out one-off items.

A sluggish economy in Greece dented mobile operations, while tough competition hurt Romanian fixed-line business.

OTE said it expects no material change to current trends in coming quarters but will scale up its investment plan with total spending seen at about 700 million euros for the full year.

Hefty investments and income tax outlays will impact free cash flow, which is seen at 250 million euros this year, down from 459 million euros in 2016.

OTE will pay a dividend of 0.16 euro a share, up from 0.10 euro it paid on 2015 profit. ($1 = 0.9492 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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