UPDATE 2-Russia's Vimpelcom cuts core profit outlook

Wed May 14, 2014 1:11pm EDT
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* Revises net debt to EBITDA target to 2.4 from 2.3

* First-quarter EBITDA down 11 pct

* Net profit tumbles 90 pct to $39 mln

* Shares recover a little after early fall (Adds share price, CEO comment on Canada, analysts)

By Maria Kiselyova

MOSCOW, May 14 (Reuters) - Russia's No.3 mobile group Vimpelcom said it expected sales and core profit to fall this year, as it struggles to defend its market share in Russia while resisting cut-price competition in Italy and a weak economy in Ukraine.

Vimpelcom, which assumed more than $20 billion of debt as it expanded into foreign markets in 2010, has been struggling with weak economies and regulatory pressure abroad, while losing customers at home to rivals MTS and Megafon.

Russia is still the biggest market for Vimpelcom, which had 218 million mobile subscribers at the end of March spread across a dozen countries in the CIS, Europe, Asia and Africa.

"Italy is still very competitive. We are also going through a transition in Russia, so we think this year is a transition year for us," CEO Jo Lunder told Reuters after the company announced revised targets for 2014.   Continued...