March 29, 2018 / 6:34 AM / a year ago

REFILE-Israel's Bezeq sees lower 2018 profit after Q4 net misses estimates

(Refiles to read Thursday, paragraph 1)

JERUSALEM, March 29 (Reuters) - Bezeq Israel Telecom said on Thursday it expects lower profit in 2018 after it reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter net profit.

Israel’s largest telecoms group said it earned 205 million shekels ($58.5 million) in the final three months of 2017, compared with 185 million a year earlier. Revenue slipped 1.8 percent to 2.46 billion shekels.

Bezeq, which is being investigated for securities offences and is the midst of a management shake-up, was forecast to earn 240 million shekels on revenue of 2.41 billion, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

The company, which is also facing stiff competition in many of its segments, said it expects to post 2018 net income of 1.0 billion shekels, down from 1.24 billion in 2017.

It also projects 2018 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 3.9 billion shekels, slightly above 2017’s 3.825 billion.

Bezeq declared a dividend of 368 million shekels for the second half of 2017. Earlier this month Bezeq said it was reducing its dividend payout to 70 percent of net profit from 100 percent.

$1 = 3.5038 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer

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