JERUSALEM Nov 23 Partner Communications
, Israel's second-largest mobile phone company, moved
to a net profit in the third quarter but it was less than
expected amid fierce competition in the sector.
Partner said on Wednesday it earned quarterly net profit of
19 million shekels ($4.9 million), up from a loss of 9 million
shekels a year earlier but below a forecast of 24 million in a
Reuters poll of analysts.
Revenue dropped 16 percent to 849 million shekels, below a
forecast of 906 million.
"During the third quarter of 2016, the erosion of cellular
services revenues continued due to the ongoing strong
competition, at a rate similar to that of the previous quarter,"
said Ziv Leitman, Partner's chief financial officer.
Partner and chief rivals Cellcom and Pelephone
continue to suffer from an industry shake-up in 2012 that
brought in new, low-cost competitors and led to a plunge in
revenue and profit.
Over the past year, Partner's subscriber base fell by 46,000
to 2.693 million.
It noted that a project to unify its low-cost brand, 012
Smile, under the Partner brand will be completed in 2017.
($1 = 3.8600 shekels)
(Reporting by Steven Scheer, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch)