However net profit fell to USD 66 million from USD 113 million a year ago, due to a net charge of USD 55 million for tax and forex losses. Total subscribers rose to 32.0 million at year-end from 30.6 million in the third quarter. Millicom plans capital spending of USD 1 billion in the current year, down from USD 1.4 billion in 2008.
The company said it's lowering operating and capital spending due to the more challenging economic environment, and also expects a continued impact on results this year from the stronger US dollar. Millicom is also scaling back its promotions in Latin America, its biggest market, to focus more on revenue-generating customers as subscriber growth slows due to higher market penetration.
The company said its recently acquired Central American fixed-line business Amnet is performing as expected and should be fully integrated during Q1. Helped by improving margins, especially in Africa where the company plans to sell its Sierra Leone operation, Millicom expects to turn free cash flow positive for the full year in 2009.