UPDATE 3-America Movil posts drop in Q4 net, revs rise

* America Movil posts higher revs as clients grow

* Bottom line misses forecast on higher taxes

* U.S. operation shows strong client additions
(Adds details on tax payment, analyst’s quote)

By Tomas Sarmiento and Noel Randewich

MEXICO CITY, Feb 2 (BestGrowthStock) – America Movil, the largest
cellphone operator in Latin America, posted a 17.2 percent fall
in fourth-quarter net profit on Tuesday, missing analysts’
expectations as it paid more income taxes in the quarter.

America Movil (AMXL.MX: ) (AMX.N: ), controlled by billionaire
Carlos Slim, said it earned 12.955 billion pesos ($989 million)
in the Oct-Dec period.

The company signed 6.6 million new clients in the fourth
quarter, more than the 5.6 million forecast in a Reuters poll
of analysts.

Quarterly revenue rose 13.43 percent, year over year, to
107 billion pesos, America Movil said in a statement. That beat
the expectations of analysts consulted by Reuters. On average,
they had forecast an 8.6 percent rise in revenues.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization totaled 40.8 billion pesos, up 16.9 percent from
the same quarter in 2008.

Reacting to tougher competition in the region, Slim
unveiled a $21 billion plan last month to shift control of his
Mexican fixed-line operator Telmex (TELMEXL.MX: ) and regional
fixed-line operator Telmex Internacional (TELINTL.MX: ) into his
flagship America Movil.

Slim plans to absorb Telmex Internacional into America
Movil and delist the fixed-line operator from the stock
exchange but executives have yet to specify what savings the
combination could lead to.

“The most relevant thing for the stock price in the short
term would be an announcement about the synergies,” said BBVA
analyst Andres Coello. “Hopefully the company will shed some
light on that.”

During the fourth quarter, America Movil had a tax expense
of 7.46 billion pesos compared to a gain of 394 million pesos
in the year-ago period when it deferred more tax than it paid.

Depreciation rose 4.4 billion pesos in the quarter to 17.7
billion pesos as the company accelerated the depreciation of
its GSM network.

BRAZIL LEADS

Brazil led by far in new subscribers during the fourth
quarter, with 2.1 million new clients. It was followed by
America Movil’s Tracfone operation in the United States, with
1.2 million new additions, and then Mexico with 807 thousand.

“With the South American economies recovering more rapidly
than anticipated from the crisis that shook the world towards
the end of 2008, subscriber growth in those countries
re-accelerated,” America Movil said in its report.

America Movil is betting heavily on Internet-oriented
products, promoting smartphones and selling cheap laptop
computers and modems on monthly payment plans.

It said sales from data services like text messages and
Internet grew 49 percent during the quarter.

Last year, America Movil’s U.S. unit TracFone Wireless
teamed up with Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: ) to offer a cut-price
wireless service using Verizon Wireless’ network.

That venture has increased pressure on other low-cost
carriers, like Leap Wireless International Inc (LEAP.O: ),
MetroPCS Communications Inc (PCS.N: ) and Sprint Nextel Corp’s
(S.N: ) Boost Mobile.
($1 = 13.10 pesos at end of Dec)

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(Reporting by Noel Randewich, editing by Leslie Gevirtz and
Gunna Dickson)

UPDATE 3-America Movil posts drop in Q4 net, revs rise