MOSCOW, May 25 (Reuters) - Russia’s second-biggest mobile operator Megafon said on Wednesday its first-quarter net profit more than halved year on year due to higher foreign exchange losses and debt raised to acquire internet group Mail.ru.
* Consolidated profit for the first quarter, including Mail.ru, fell to 4.2 billion roubles ($74.7 million) from 8.8 billion roubles in January-March 2016;
* In the telecoms division, net profit decreased 56.5 percent to 3.8 billion roubles;
* Earnings were down mainly due to higher forex losses and increased interest expenses after the company borrowed 35 billion roubles from Sberbank in February to help finance its acquisition of a stake in Mail.ru.
* Net debt of the telecom segment increased to 229.4 billion roubles from 197 billion roubles three months earlier
* Consolidated revenues, including Mail.ru, rose to 86.25 billion roubles from 75.15 billion roubles a year ago
* Telecom revenue fell 0.9 percent to 74.5 billion roubles due to price cuts and the effect of the leap year
* “The market trends that we observed over the course of last year continue to affect the financial results of our telecom segment,” Sergei Soldatenkov, Megafon chief executive, said
* The company has noticed a reduction in the rate of declines for both revenue and core earnings in the telecoms segment
* Consolidated operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) rose 6.2 percent to 32.12 billion roubles, with the OIBDA margin down to 37.2 percent from 40.2 percent in Q1 2016
* OIBDA of the telecom segment down 4 percent to 29 billion roubles, with the OIBDA margin at 39 percent vs 40.2 percent a year earlier, due to sales decline, price cuts and higher dealer commissions amid competitive pressures
* The board of directors recommended paying a dividend of 32.25 roubles per share for 2016 financial year, with a total payout of around 20 billion roubles
* The new dividend policy specifies a minimum level of dividends at 70 percent of the group’s free cash flow to shareholders, excluding the results of Mail.ru
* 2017 guidance confirmed as announced in March Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 56.2416 roubles) (Reporting by Moscow Newsroom. Editing by Jane Merriman)