GCC telcos ring up solid profits in 1Q07

Earnings growth remains strong despite high market valuations.

  • E-Mail
By  Administrator Published  May 1, 2007

Etisalat announced record earning in 1Q07, with its local and international operations servicing 32 million subscribers. Earnings during the three months to end-March stood at US$501 million, representing a 37.3% hike from the same period the previous year. Earlier predictions put the growth figure at 21.7%.

"Etisalat's International Investments unit has developed immensely and has achieved a lot," commented Saeed Al Hamli, senior manager Portfolio Management and Integration at Etisalat International.

In addition, the company reported record subscriber growth for 1Q07 despite losing its domestic monopoly following du's market entry in February.

Du claimed revenues almost doubled to US$49.89 million in 1Q07, up from US$25.7 million for the year earlier period. The nascent operator recorded a net loss of US$58.8 million for the quarter, which was an increase on the US$15.1 million loss reported a year ago, though the operator announced the growth in mobile subscribers to reach 250,000 at the end of March. Combined internet, television and fixed-line services to commercial and individual customers in Dubai generated the bulk of du's revenue.

"We're talking about only five weeks of effective launch of mobile services in the quarter. Most of the revenue was driven by triple-play packages," du CEO Osman Sultan said.

Pan-regional operator MTC Group leveraged its operations across 20 markets to garner US$1.356 billion of revenues in 1Q07 with net income amounting to US$247 million for the period. MTC's EBITDA grew 33% year-on-year to US$563 million, representing an EBITDA margin of 42%.

"On the back of excellent results for 2006, we are delighted that MTC continues its strong performance in the first quarter of 2007," said Saad Al Barrak, CEO of the MTC Group. MTC claimed its subscriber base swelled by 95% year-on-year to 29.7 million during the period.

Kuwait rival Wataniya Telecom reported consolidated net profit of US$88.4 million for 1Q07 to end-March, with its share value rising an equivalent to 283% year-on-year.

Revenues rose 34% year-on-year to US$315.8 million for the quarter with the operator reporting a 43% annual increase in subscribers for the same period, to 7.25 million.

Wataniya, which holds a 45% market share in Kuwait, reported that EBITDA rose 52% year-on-year to US$136.6 million. Wataniya also has stakes in operational companies in Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, the Maldives and Saudi Arabia, and is preparing to launch in Palestine.

Wataniya has been assimilated into the Qtel group following the Qatar-based company's acquisition of a 51% majority shareholding in Wataniya Telecom for US$3.72 billon in March.

"While we differentiate ourselves as the leaders in innovation in our markets, our promise remains the commitment to grow the value that Wataniya Telecom offers," stated Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, incoming chairman of Wataniya Telecom.

"Wataniya is now part of a larger Qtel group and the synergies and efficiencies that are expected to be achieved from the enlarged Qtel group will benefit all the Wataniya group companies and will enhance the long term value for the shareholders," he added. Integration measures continue.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code