Monday, June 01, 2009
On May 22, 2009, we have disclosed financial results for the first quarter of 2009. A wealth of information about the results is available on our website – the press release, the presentation and the excel spreadsheet with summary financial information for 2004-2009. Of particular interest, we suggest reviewing the slides in the presentation on the decomposition of our revenue dynamics in Russia and OIBDA margin dynamics for the Group, as well as MTS Russia retail development.
In Q1, Group’s revenues fell 24% year-on-year to $1.8 billion US dollars. The primary driver for this loss was the depreciation of our core currencies as the Russian ruble declined year-on-year by 40% and the Ukrainian hryvna by 52% versus the US dollar. In each of our markets of operation, we continue to see an impact on consumption patterns due to sustained global macroeconomic volatility, but overall usage and subscriber additions remain strong and in line with seasonal expectations.
Our Russian business delivered year-over-year growth of 7.5% despite both the ruble volatility and increased competitiveness in the market. In general, consumption of higher-value products, like roaming, long-distance and mobile-to-fixed calling was significantly lower in the beginning of the period, due to an overall drop in business activity, but these figures stabilized during the last month. We do see migration trends to lower-value tariffs as customers are more conscious of their spending. Otherwise, we see usage trends in the future following seasonal patterns until the overall macroeconomic environment changes significantly.
Recently, we announced our dividend for FY2008. In line with our policy, we will pay out 60% of our net income or a total of 39.4 billion rubles or roughly $1.2 billion. This year, we will also not pay dividends to those shares repurchased through our mandatory buy-back offer in August 2008. This equals roughly 1.9% of total shares outstanding. This will in turn increase the dividend yield by about 15 basis points. This translates to a greater shareholder benefit from our share buyback program.
Balancing growth and shareholder returns is a cornerstone of our financial and operating strategy. This is a clear differentiator for MTS as an investment. Our recent actions - relatively modest investments in proprietary distribution, tapping local credit markets and successfully refinancing our existing debt – are aimed to both ensure growth and sustain profitability, both of which allow us to make substantial returns to shareholders both now and in the future.