TELECOM FIJI PROFITS JUMP 19 PERCENT IN FISCAL 2007

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 27) - Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited has made a group consolidated net profit after tax of FJ$41.5 million [US$26 million] for its financial year ended March 31 in 2007.

[PIR editor’s note: Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited is the parent company of Telecom Fiji and was formed by government in March 1998 as the vehicle for privatization of the telecommunications industry. Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL) is the sole provider of local and national (trunk) telephony services, and owns the only public switched telephone network in Fiji. The TFL network consists of 55 telephone exchanges throughout Fiji and Rotuma, connecting more than 101,000 customers. ]

The net profit after tax and minority interest of FJ$41.5 million was an increase of 18.9 percent over the previous financial year, in which a group consolidated net profit after tax and minority interest of FJ$34.9 million was recorded.

ATH chairman Kanti Tappoo said the result was achieved despite lower prices under the Commerce Commission's determination that came into effect in October 2005.

"The result is especially significant because it takes into account the first full year impact of the Commission's determination on telecommunications prices," Mr. Tappoo said. The ATH group of Companies comprises, ATH, Telecom Fiji Limited, Vodafone Fiji Limited, Fiji Directories Limited, Connect, Transtel Limited and Xceed Pasifika Limited. The Commission's determination resulted in a 70 percent reduction in pre-paid mobile call charges, and a 20 percent reduction in fixed line call charges. Tappoo said the price determination presented major challenges for the group. However, it was able to overcome these through cost savings, efficiency gains, and astute marketing, he said. He said intensive promotion and marketing following the price reductions led to a FJ$20.2 million [US$12.7 million] rise in consolidated sales revenue for the year.

"With this result, the ATH group is well placed financially to continue to develop its business in preparation for deregulation and competition," said Tappoo.

Tappoo said the FJ$77 million [US$48 million] capital expenditure program announced recently for the 2007/2008 financial year would add to the strong foundation the group was building for its future growth.

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