JERUSALEM, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Partner Communications Co Ltd , Israel's second-largest mobile phone operator which operates under the Orange brand name, has reported an 80 percent drop in quarterly profit, citing intense competition.
Israel's mobile phone industry was shaken up in 2012 with the entry of a host of new operators, sparking a price war that led to steep drops in subscribers, revenue and profit at Partner and two incumbent rivals.
Partner said on Wednesday it earned 9 million shekels ($2.4 million) in the second quarter, compared with 46 million a year earlier. Revenue slipped 4 percent to 1.04 billion.
The company had been forecast to post a loss of 7 million shekels on revenue of 1.03 billion, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
Its subscriber base dipped 6 percent to 2.75 million customers.
Partner said it may make a loss in the third quarter due to a one-time 35 million shekel expense linked to a retirement plan that will trim its workforce by 350 in the next few months, as well as the negative effects of competition.
Partner, which is set to start using a new 20 MHz 4G band in the coming days, operates under the Orange brand name through a long-standing licensing deal with French telecoms group Orange . In June, the two companies agreed to end that deal following a public dispute in the wake of comments from Orange's chief executive.
Partner has already received an initial payment of 15 million euro from Orange and it said it was conducting a study regarding the use of the Orange brand.
$1 = 3.8090 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by David Holmes