Batelco announces mid-year financial results

Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) announced its mid-year financial results for the year 2004. During the term, Batelco achieved net profits of US$110.6 million as compared with US$72.9 million for the same period last year.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  July 21, 2004

Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) announced its mid-year financial results for the year 2004. During the term, Batelco achieved net profits of US$110.6 million as compared with US$72.9 million for the same period last year. “We have invested time, effort and resources to ensure continued excellence for the benefit of our customers. At the same time, we have improved operations and streamlined our business. As a result, Batelco is operating from a position of strength in terms of meeting the requirements and challenges of market liberalisation,” says Rasheed Mohammed Al-Maraj, Batelco’s chairman. The performance is attributed to the growth in revenue by about 7% resulting from a significant increase in the number of subscribers to Batelco’s various services. Batelco’s Board of Directors have approved the distribution of interim cash dividends to share holders to the equivalent of 20% of the paid in capital at a value of 20 fils per share, which is the first time in the company’s history that cash dividends are distributed at mid-year. “Our superb half-year results further improve Batelco’s good image and will bolster confidence among customers, stakeholders and all those that share interest in the company. The launch of Batelco’s new branding is probably the most prominent of the company’s responses to the introduction of competition in Bahrain’s telecom market,” says Tony Hart, Batelco’s chief executive officer. The company recently invested some US$23.8 million in improvement and expansion of its mobile network to increase capacity to 550,000 lines, meeting the needs of a significant increase in subscribers to Batelco’s mobile services since the introduction of competition. The penetration of mobile services in the Kingdom of Bahrain has now reached 78%. “The improvement to our infrastructure is not just capacity expansion - its far more than that,” explains Hart. “It also improves the level of geographical coverage in the kingdom, especially indoor, as well as offering a variety of data services at higher speeds.” “In May, the initial phase of our new CRM system was implemented. The new system replaces the 18-year old customer care system and includes customer care, fault reporting, complaint module, and credit control applications. The fixed line billing system was also phased out during the same period,” says Hart. In addition, Batelco recently launched the Batelco X-change customer loyalty card, which entitles customers to a personal loyalty card that enables them to store cash according with the number of points accumulated and based on how much the customer spends. Furthermore, Batelco X-change cards can also be used to get discounts/special offers by presenting the cards at participating merchants. “The Batelco X-change scheme is unique as it is a personalised prepaid Mastercard, which works on the Maestro and Cirrus systems. The card is issued and operated by Arab Financial Services (AFS), the leading card service provider in the Middle East region and is already proving popular with our customers,” says Hart. Batelco has also further improved its mobile services by signing an agreement with the Iranian Telecommunications Company (TCI) to launch a roaming service between Bahrain and Iran. This agreement enables Batelco mobile customers to make and receive calls in Iran. In addition, the company introduced new auto-payment methods to save customers time and effort. These include direct debit and an ‘over the phone’ bill payment service. About 66% of Batelco’s customers are now paying their bills through these channels.

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