October 25, 2017 / 4:06 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-America Movil sees end of regulatory drag as results hit shares

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MEXICO CITY, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Mexican telecommunications company America Movil, whose shares fell more than 6 percent on weak third-quarter results, said on Wednesday it believed it would no longer be barred from charging rivals for mobile calls made to clients on its network.

Legislators set the so-called mobile interconnection rates at zero in 2014 to curb the dominance of America Movil, Latin America's biggest telecommunications provider.

However, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled in August that market regulator, the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT), should instead set the rates. That decision helped lift the company's shares in the ensuing weeks.

On Tuesday, America Movil, which is controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, reported a net loss of 9.55 billion pesos ($525 million) for the last quarter, and the stock was down 6.16 percent at 17.07 pesos per share in Wednesday trading.

On a conference call with analysts to review the results, America Movil Chief Executive Daniel Hajj was asked about a Reuters report that the regulator is discussing allowing America Movil to charge its rivals mobile interconnection rates again.

"I personally think there is no way that there could be a zero rate again," Hajj said.

A proposal drafted by the IFT's regulatory policy unit would allow America Movil to charge 0.03686 pesos per minute for mobile calls made to customers on its network next year, and its rivals to charge 0.1176 pesos, Reuters reported.

Hajj said he expected the IFT's decision very soon, within two weeks.

The fall in America Movil's shares dragged on the Mexican S&P/BMV IPC index, which was down 1.47 percent, as Slim's company has the largest weighting on the index.

The company's results were hit by a costly Colombian arbitration panel ruling, the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico and a deadly earthquake in Mexico. (Reporting by Noe Torres and Sheky Espejo; Editing by Dave Graham and Steve Orlofsky)

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