Russian regional fixed-to-mobile telecom operator UralSvyazInform said on Wednesday its first-half net profit fell 2 percent due to higher financial expenses and foreign exchange losses.

The company, which operates in the Ural Mountains area, said in a statement earnings declined to 1.66 billion roubles ($53.6 million) from 1.69 billion roubles a year ago, according to International Financial Reporting Standards.

Financial costs rose 21 percent to 1.77 billion roubles, and a foreign exchange loss amounted to 188 million roubles compared with a 34 million rouble loss a year ago.

Sales edged up 0.4 percent to 20.1 billion roubles, while earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped 8.2 percent to 7.90 billion roubles for an EBITDA margin of 39.3 percent, up from 36.5 percent.

($1=30.98 ROUBLE)

(Reporting by Natalya Shurmina and Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Hans Peters)