Docomo to Buy Back $4.1 Billion in Shares as Profit Climbs

  • New calling plans drawing more subscribers, helping revenue
  • User base maintains growth trend sparked by adding iPhone

NTT Docomo Inc. will buy back as much as 500 billion yen ($4.1 billion) of its own shares, bolstering stockholder returns after profit rose last quarter.

The company will repurchase as many as 220 million shares, or 5.7 percent of non-treasury stock outstanding, from Feb. 1 to Dec. 31, Japan’s largest mobile carrier said in a statement Friday. Separately, Docomo reported operating income climbed 19 percent to 222.9 billion yen in the three months ended Dec. 31.

The carrier, the last of Japan’s big three to add Apple Inc.’s iPhone to its lineup, said it expects full-year results to beat its own forecast after it stemmed an exodus of users and changed an unlimited calling plan that had sapped revenue.

The carrier left its projection unchanged for net income of 490 billion yen in the year ending March, 19 percent more than the previous fiscal year. Sales will probably be 4.49 trillion yen, 2 percent more than a year earlier, unchanged from the company’s Oct. 30 forecast.

“Our full-year results are likely to beat forecasts,” Kaoru Kato, Docomo chief executive officer, told reporters at a briefing after the earnings announcement Friday.

Three months ended Dec. 31:
*Net income was 175.3 billion yen, compared with 126.5 billion yen average analyst estimate
*Revenue was 1.17 trillion yen, in line with the 1.17 trillion yen average analyst estimate
*Final dividend: 70 yen

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