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SK Telecom (SKM) Q1 Earnings Up but Revenues Down Y/Y

Leading South Korean wireless communication service provider SK Telecom Co. Ltd. SKM reported mixed financial results in the first quarter of 2016. Consolidated net income increased a substantial 29.3% year over year to approximately $518.9 million. Quarterly earnings per ADS (American Depository Share) were 82 cents.

First quarter consolidated operating revenues decreased a nominal 0.3% year over year to approximately $3,888 million mainly due to SK Telecom’s discontinued signup fees, which was partially offset by growth in revenues of subsidiaries SK Planet and SK Broadband.

Segmental Revenues

Quarterly Mobile service revenues were approximately $2,452.4 million, down 1% year over year. Interconnection revenues increased 7.2% to $172.3 million while Other revenues were down 9.3% to $184 million.

Operating Income & Expenses

In the reported quarter, operating income was $364.6 million, flat year over year. Operating margin was 9.5%, flat year over year. Operating expenses declined a mere 0.3% year over year to approximately $3,469 million. Quarterly EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was $1,043.5 million, up 1.7% year over year. EBITDA margin was 27.2% compared with 26.7% in the year-ago quarter.

Subscriber, ARPU & Churn

In the reported quarter, subscriber count increased 3.2% year over year to 28.921 million with a net addition of 295,000 customers. The number of LTE subscribers reached 19.526 million at the end of the first-quarter 2016 constituting over 67.5% of SK Telecom’s subscriber base.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) increased 0.5% year over year to approximately $39.63 in the first quarter while billing ARPU was $33.01, up 0.3% year over year. The quarterly churn rate improved to 1.5% from 2% a year ago.

Liquidity

SK Telecom exited the first quarter of 2016 with approximately $1,530.2 million of cash and marketable securities on its balance sheet compared with $1,413.3 million at the end of 2015. Total debt, at the end of the reported quarter was $6,129.7 million compared with $6,183.9 million at the end of 2015.

Stocks to Consider

SK Telecom currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some better-ranked stocks in the same industry are BlackBerry Ltd. BBRY, NTT DOCOMO Inc. DCM and KT Corp. KT. All three stocks currently sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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KT CORP (KT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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