MTS Q2 2009 RESULTS

Thursday, August 13, 2009
On August 11, we disclosed our financial results for the second quarter 2009. As always, we posted a lot of information about the results on our website – the press release, the presentation and the Excel spreadsheet with summary financial information for 2004-2009. In the presentation, we have included detailed slides about our future strategic priorities, logic behind the intent to acquire a controlling stake in COMSTAR-UTS (see the original press release), as well as more insight into our retail development and handset distribution in Russia.

On the conference call, we have commented that there was a general improvement in our operating environment in Q2, aided by seasonal and organic growth factors. The Group recorded 12% q-o-q revenue growth to over $2.0 billion US dollars, driven by 2.8 million new subscribers and a seasonal improvement in usage.

Group OIBDA increased by 15% q-o-q to $953.8 million. Margin on our service revenue was over 50% as growth was aided by the seasonal pick-up in revenue, tighter cost control on SG&A expenses and the appreciation of the Russian ruble during the period. As we have forecasted, our build-out of our monobrand retail has put additional cost pressures on our margins, with the cumulative negative effect on the Group margin of 3.4 percentage points for a total margin of 47.2%. We witnessed significant improvement in the profitability of our Ukrainian business unit as well.

Our revenues in Russia grew 9% q-o-q to 51 billion rubles due to strong subscriber additions and a positive impact from seasonal usage. We are seeing significant subscriber additions through our greater use of alternative sales channels, such as temporary stands, kiosks and so forth. At the same time, we are currently in the build-out stage of our monobrand network, which delivers higher-value customers as ARPUs are 20% higher on average.

Given the changes we see in our markets and the initiatives by which we are fostering growth in our markets, we also elaborated on our strategic direction, introducing our concept of 3i to our shareholders. 3i focuses on three principles that will govern future growth at MTS: integration, Internet and innovation. Be sure to check out our presentation for more information.

With the disclosure behind us, we will be posting more information here on our blog about our new monobrand stores and overall retail strategy, as well as updates about our proposed acquisition of Comstar-UTS, in the coming weeks. Будем на связи (Budem na svyazi!), or we'll be in touch soon!

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