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Investor Releases

Matáv full year 2001 results

BUDAPEST –February 14, 2002 - Matáv (NYSE: MTA.N and BSE: MTAV.BU), the leading Hungarian telecommunications service provider, today reported its consolidated financial results for 2001 according to International Accounting Standards (IAS).

Highlights:

  • Total revenues grew by 22.8% (24.4% in EUR terms) to HUF 547.7 bn (EUR 2.1 bn) primarily due to the first consolidation of MakTel and strong growth of mobile and data business.
  • EBITDA(1) was HUF 236.0 bn and EBITDA margin was 43.1% due to the outstanding contribution of MakTel, and efficiency improvements in mobile operations (Westel).
  • Mobile segment revenues increased by 24.9% mainly driven by a substantial increase in traffic and enhanced service revenues.
  • Westel had 2.5 million customers, equivalent to 25% of the population. Westel continues to maintain its market leader position.
  • MakTel’s EBITDA margin reached an outstanding 56.4% due to continued development in the fixed and mobile business.
  • Pro-forma net income(1) was HUF 75.2 bn (EUR 293.0 m), up by 9.4% driven by the higher profitability of Westel and the strengthening forint against the euro.
  • (1) Pro-forma numbers are stated before the effects of restatement in relation to the Westel as described in section “c”of the flash report.

Elek Straub, Chairman and CEO commented: "I am glad to report to you another successful year for Matáv with revenue growth of 23% and EBITDA margin of 43%, as we had promised to our shareholders. In line with our strategy we have strengthened our position in the fast growing mobile market during the year by acquiring the remaining stake in Westel. In addition we have made our first international investment, in Macedonia, which has made a significant contribution to revenue and EBITDA growth.

In anticipation of an expected increase in competition in 2002, we will continue with our clearly defined strategy of focusing on growth areas and sustaining cash generation in the fixed voice telephony market. Having a stable regulatory environment and given our increasing focus on strict cost control measures it is anticipated that Matáv Group revenue growth will be in the high single digit range in 2002 We target EBITDA margin to remain at over 40% for the year. Capital expenditure is planned to be around 105 billion forints in 2002"

Targets for 2002

Revenue growth: high single digit
EBITDA margin: over 40%
Capex - Group level (HUF bn): approximately 105

Fixed line: Cash generation, prepared for liberalization

In our fixed segment revenues grew by 2.3% with EBITDA margin of 37.8%. In the fixed voice business a major marketing effort in 2001 was focused on the development and introduction of a number of highly successful customized tariff-packages. Matáv now offers a variety of tariff packages targeting each major customer segment and usage pattern. Our data revenues continued to deliver an excellent growth rate of 25.9%, driven by the strong volume growth in managed leased lines, ISDN data, Internet and cable TV subscribers. On the cost side Matáv placed strong emphasis on cost management and efficiency improvement throughout the year. As a result, headcount decreased by 17.2% at Matáv Rt. during the year, so that the company reached a lines per fixed line employee ratio of 316.

Mobile: Highly profitable player with market-leadership

Mobile segment revenues increased by 24.9% to reach HUF 198.9 billion for the year. Westel outperformed its competitors in terms of net customer additions whilst at the same time EBITDA margin to 38.2% from 37.1% a year earlier. A major contributory factor to this excellent EBITDA margin performance was the careful management of entry-level tariffs particularly in the prepaid segment. Pro-forma net income went up by 41.3% driven by strong volume growth, efficiency improvements and foreign exchange gain on Westel’s debt portfolio.

Westel’s subscriber base was 2.5 million at the end of 2001 The Company had a GSM market share of 50.6% and added 46.5% of the total market net additions in 2001 Of the total net additions at Westel in 2001 94.3% were prepaid customers. Prepaid customers at year end represented 67.4% of the total customer base. Despite the continuous dilution in it’s customer base Westel managed to keep both MOU (monthly average minutes of use per subscriber) and ARPU (average revenue per unit) at a relatively healthy level providing an average MOU of 146 and ARPU of HUF 6,946 at year-end.

International: Further growth and high margins

MakTel’s revenues were HUF 60 billion in 2001 Our first international subsidiary has delivered an EBITDA margin of 56.4% in its first year as a member of the Matáv Group. The subscriber base has continued to grow in each business segment. Fixed line customers amounted to 550,000, up 7.0% from a year earlier. The mobile customer base now amounts to 234,000 an increase of 134.0%. This provides a strong platform for further growth in advance of the second GSM provider starting operation. The number of Internet subscribers was 21,700 at the end of 2001, comparing with 9,900 at the end of 2000

Matáv is the principal provider of telecom services in Hungary. Matáv provides a broad range of services including telephony, data transmission, value-added services, and through its subsidiaries is Hungary's largest mobile telecom provider. Matáv also holds a majority stake in Stonebridge Communications AD controlling MakTel, the sole fixed line and the leading mobile operator in Macedonia. Key shareholders of Matáv as of December 31, 2001 include MagyarCom, owned by Deutsche Telekom AG (59.49%), while 40.51% is publicly traded.

This press-release contains forward-looking statements. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current plans, estimates and projections, and therefore you should not place undue reliance on them. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update publicly any of them in light of new information or future events.

Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. We caution you that a number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Such factors are described in, among other things, our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2000 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.