Bezeq Telecom returns to Q4 profit, mulls merger of subsidiaries

JERUSALEM, March 25 (Reuters) - Bezeq Israel Telecom swung to a profit in the fourth quarter of 2020 on lower impairment losses and said it was considering merging two of its businesses to reduce costs.

Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecoms group, said it earned 174 million shekels ($53 million) in the October-December period, compared with an 87 million shekel loss a year earlier. It reported a loss from impairment of assets of 25 million shekels in the quarter, versus 196 million shekels a year earlier.

Revenue was unchanged at 2.2 billion shekels.

The company also projected net profit of 1.0 billion shekels in 2021 after reporting a profit of 796 million in 2020.

Bezeq said it was examining a merger between its satellite TV business YES and ISP subsidiary Bezeq International due to “the need to examine the possible enhancement of synergies and operational efficiencies of the subsidiary companies in order to maximize and unlock value.”

Bezeq’s Pelephone business, Israel’s third-largest mobile operator, recorded a quarterly loss of 12 million shekels, versus a 69 million shekel loss a year earlier. Revenue slipped 11.5% to 533 million shekels while its subscriber base rose to 2.442 million from 2.327 million.

$1 = 3.3059 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer. Editing by Jane Merriman