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Indonesia's Indosat Quarter Profit Rises 23.6%

Indonesia's second-largest mobile phone operator, PT Indosat Tbk, saw a better-than-expected 23.6 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, thanks to strong growth in its subscriber base.

The company, around 40 percent owned by Asia Mobile Holdings, saw mobile phone users expand by 47 percent to 24.5 million last year, beating 38 percent growth for the overall industry.

The Indonesian mobile phone industry has been growing rapidly in recent years and the number of mobile phone subscribers is expected to top 120 million by the end of 2008 from around 90 million last year.

Indosat's fourth quarter net profit climbed to 596.91 billion rupiah ($64.9 million) from 482.92 billion rupiah, according to Reuters calculation based on its full-year results and published nine-month results.

Its fourth quarter revenue rose 36.9 percent to 4.61 trillion rupiah, while the implied analysts forecast was 4.24 trillion rupiah for that quarter.

Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates predicted a full year net profit of 2.02 trillion rupiah, which implied a fourth quarter net profit of 571.84 billion rupiah.

On Monday, the company reported a 44.8 percent rise in its full year net profit to 2.04 trillion rupiah while its revenue climbed 34.7 percent to 16.49 trillion rupiah.

Singapore's ST Telemedia, a unit of state investment agency Temasek Holdings, controls 75 percent of Asia Mobile Holdings, while Qatar Telecom holds the remaining 25 percent.

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