* EBITDA up 1.3%, company adds 6.8 mln subscribers
* Net profit hits $1.87 bln
* America Movil spins off mobile towers into new entity
MEXICO CITY, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Mexican telecommunications
firm America Movil on Tuesday reported a surprise net
profit of $1.87 billion in the fourth quarter, driven up nearly
80% by a favorable exchange rate.
The company, which is controlled by the family of Mexican
billionaire Carlos Slim, reported the bonanza despite sales
falling by 3.1% from the same quarter last year to 255 billion
Net profit rose to 37.3 billion pesos ($1.87 billion) from
20.8 billion pesos for the same period a year earlier, an
increase of 79.6%.
The company cited exchange gains due to the strengthening of
the Mexican peso against the U.S. dollar and the euro.
Mexican financial group Grupo Financiero Banorte had
forecast net profit falling to 17.7 billion pesos. America
Movil's sales slightly underperformed Banorte's forecast of
258.7 billion pesos for the quarter.
Local brokerage Monex noted a significant increase in
postpaid mobile subscribers underpinning America Movil's
"We added 6.8 million wireless subscribers in the quarter,
double the number in the previous quarter... including 2.7
million mobile postpaid subscribers," the company said.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization
(EBITDA) grew 1.3% in peso terms during the October to December
"These figures validate an important recovery in the
services segment," Monex said in a client note.
However, with exchange rate fluctuations driving the profit,
it said the report was "neutral."
In the core market of Mexico, America Movil's base of
postpaid customers grew 1.3% year-over-year and its prepaid base
increased 1.1%. The company added 1.2 million subscribers,
nearly all prepaid, to end the year with 77.8 million
America Movil's board of directors also approved an asset
reorganization plan on Tuesday for its Latin American towers,
creating a spin-off entity focused on the development,
construction and locations of the towers for mobile services,
the company said.
It expects to complete the reorganization in 2021.
($1= 19.9500 pesos at end-December)
(Reporting by Noe Torres, Abraham Gonzalez and Cassandra
Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Rosalba O'Brien)