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Greece's HOL first-half loss narrows on Vodafone deal.

Hellas Online (HOL), a Greek internet provider, said on Tuesday its first-half loss narrowed despite the country's recession, helped by a cooperation deal to share clients with mobile phone giant Vodafone.

HOL, Greece's second-largest alternative telecommunications provider, said pretax losses stood at 18.4 mln euros from 24.3 mln in the same period last year. The firm did not provide net loss figures.

EBITDA surged to 22.9 mln euros from 2.8 mln last year, despite an ongoing recession which has hammered telecommunications spending in Greece, boosted by a 2009 deal with Vodafone to offer joint internet, mobile and fixed telephony.

"The dynamics of the Vodafone deal became apparent in the first half," said the company, which expects to get its first pretax profit next year. HOL shares 45,000 clients with Vodafone, about 13% of its total customer base.

Alternative Greek telcos are still losing money because they pay depreciation charges on investments to build their own networks, in an effort to grab clients from market leader OTE, a former state monopoly now controlled by Deutsche Telekom.

HOL is also in strategic cooperation talks with its biggest rival, Forthnet, which dominates Greek pay television but has no exposure in the mobile phone market.

HOL is 53-percent owned by Greek telecommunications equipment firm Intracom. Vodafone owns 18.5% of the company.

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Publication:Financial Mirror (Cyprus)
Date:Aug 24, 2010
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