SAO PAULO, March 22 (Reuters) - 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