Operator group VimpelCom saw a healthy profit rise for the first quarter of 2013, as strong performances in several units and reduced charges had an impact.

For the first quarter, VimpelCom reported a 28 per cent year-on-year increase in net income to reach $408 million, compared with $318 million in the first quarter of 2012. Revenue for the period was flat, at $5.6 billion.

Among the factors it noted was reduced amortisation costs related to its Wind Telecom acquisition, as well as lower losses recognised on equipment sales and asset disposals.

The company’s total mobile subscriber base increased by 4 per cent from 206 million a year ago to reach 215 million across its various units.

“These results demonstrate further progress on our Value Agenda and we remain on track to achieve our longer term objectives,” said Jo Lunder, VimpelCom CEO (pictured).

Lunder added that revenue growth was “impacted particularly” by mobile termination rate reductions of 72 per cent in Italy, where the company operates the Wind network. The results were also negatively affected by the appreciation of the US dollar against local currencies.

There was particularly strong growth in Uzbekistan as the company benefited from the closure of the operations owned by MTS. The country saw a 100 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue driven by a 40 per cent increase in subscribers.

Russia and Italy both saw revenue and subscriber growth, with mobile data growth of 31 per cent in Russia and 29 per cent in Italy.

The mobile subscriber base in the Ukraine increased 11 per cent to 27.5 million, with mobile revenue rising 2 per cent, while the CIS business delivered double-digit year-on-year growth despite strong competition in Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

The company’s Africa & Asia business, which includes Algeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh, saw revenue fall 1 per cent to $864 million due to “regulatory and governmental actions”. However, the subscriber base for this unit increased by 2 per cent to more than 85 million.

VimpelCom is facing challenges in Algeria, with Reuters reporting last week that the Algerian government is looking for a new valuation of the group’s Djezzy unit before it agrees to acquire a 51 per cent stake.

VimpelCom acquired Djezzy as part of the $6 billion deal to buy Orascom Telecom. The Algerian government subsequently pressured the company to relinquish control of the unit, with VimpelCom agreeing to sell the stake.

During the period, the company announced the sale of its 90 per cent stake in Cambodian operator Sotelco, consistent with its Value Agenda strategy.

In related news, Orascom Telecom’s board has recommended that its shareholders do not accept a tender offer for shares in the company not already owned by VimpelCom, made by VimpelCom shareholder Altimo. A report evaluating the bid found that Altimo’s offer undervalues the company by nearly 20 per cent.

Members of the Orascom board affiliated with VimpelCom abstained from voting for the tender offer due to a conflict in interest presented by their connection with Altimo.