SAO PAULO, March 22 Oi SA, the
Brazilian phone carrier currently under bankruptcy protection,
posted a narrower net loss in the fourth quarter due to cost
cutting and lower financial expenses.
In a Wednesday securities filing, Oi said it lost 3.306
billion reais ($1.07 billion) last quarter, a shortfall about 30
percent smaller than the same period a year earlier.
The carrier has been working to contain costs and recover
market share in the country's worst recession on record. Net
revenue fell 6 percent as pre-paid mobile users dropped sharply
amid rising unemployment and consumer debt.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization fell 10 percent from a year earlier to 1.531
billion reais. The indicator was mainly affected by an asset
impairment related to Oi's Africa-based investments.
Net debt slipped to 40.342 billion reais at the end of
December, from 41.184 billion reais at the end of September.
Capital spending rose 28 percent, part of Chief Executive Marco
Schroeder's efforts to rebuild Oi's slipping subscriber base.
Oi reported in court documents last week that it had
negative free cash flow of 153 million reais in January, due in
part to a rise in payments to service providers.
($1 = 3.09 reais)
(Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Bernard Orr)