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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Canadian Telecom Provider Posts Profits, Forecasts Strong Growth

Canadian telecommunications group PLD Telekom, a niche provider of high-end services in Russia, posted its first operating profit in its short corporate history and predicts strong future growth as demand soars, a company official said Tuesday.

The telecommunications group, formed in mid-1993 and known until recently as Petersburg Long Distance, recorded a gain of $537,000 in the first half of 1996, according to chief financial officer Simon Edwards.

"These profits basically reflect the fact that the company has finally grown to such a size that it is able to cover operating costs and overheads," Edwards said in a telephone interview from London.

Edwards did not say how much money the company had lost before going into the black this year, but said it typically took five to seven years for a telecoms start-up firm to post a profit.

PLD is aiming for total revenue in 1997 to reach $100 million, Edwards said. That would be more than triple the current level.

"The telecommunications sector has tremendous potential here," he said, noting that Russia must be one of the "least-served markets in the world."

PLD, which is quoted on the U.S. NASDAQ and the Toronto stock exchanges, raised more than $100 million in June in the first high-yield bond issue offered by any Russian-based business. Edwards said there were no current plans for further bond issues.

Like other foreign telecom providers, PLD has been trying to cash in on Russia's paucity of long-distance telephone connections by providing a satellite-based, land-backed communications network.