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Russia's MTS posts 20.7% year-on-year drop in 1Q06 net profit - 1

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MOSCOW, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - MTS [RTS: MTSS], Russia's largest mobile phone operator, said Thursday its net profit for January-March 2006 had declined 20.7% year on year, to $184.4 million.

Revenue during the first quarter totaled $1.289 bln, up 21.9% on the same period of 2005. Operating income slipped 1.3% to $334.2 mln, while EBITDA grew 11.5% to $598.6 mln.

The company's consolidated subscriber base rose by 2.86 million during the first quarter.

"MTS has gained a leading position in Russia, with a market share of around 35%," the company said.

MTS said its market share in Ukraine rose to 44% during the period, 57% in Uzbekistan, 75% in Turkmenistan, but edged down in Belarus, from 52% to 51%.

MTS posted a U.S. GAAP net profit of $1.13 billion in 2005, a 14% increase on 2004.

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