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Sistema Q1 Sales up 26% on Oil, MTS

Oil-to-telecoms holding company Sistema reported a 33 percent fall in first-quarter net profit because of a smaller foreign exchange gain.

Net profit fell to $97.2 million, while net profit before one-offs rose 30.5 percent to $102.3 million, Sistema said Wednesday.

The company said sales rose 25.8 percent to $7.8 billion, driven by mid-size oil asset Bashneft and Russia's top mobile phone operator Mobile TeleSystems.

Operating income before depreciation and amortization rose 13 percent to $1.85 billion, said Sistema, which also owns banking, retail, health care and defense assets.

"Our solid financial position and our stable portfolio mean that Sistema is well placed to focus on new M&A opportunities and deliver our key objective of creating another core, industry leading business," chief executive Mikhail Shamolin said.

Shamolin earlier told Reuters that the conglomerate planned to tap yet another large industry and was considering going into chemicals, fertilizer or agricultural.

Sistema's net debt, excluding obligations of its units, fell 38.5 percent to $1.18 billion.

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