Etisalat unveils record Q1 profit

First quarter profits hit $577.3m as mobile subscribers rise 4% to 6.63 million

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By  Derek Francis Published  April 20, 2008

Etisalat has posted a record first quarter profit as it increased its mobile subscriber base to 6.63 million, or 4%, from 31st December, 2007.

Net income in the three months to 31st March increased 15.5% to AED 2.12 billion ($577.3 million), compared to AED 1.84 billion ($501 million) in the same period a year ago.

According to Reuters, CEO Mohammed al-Qamzi said the operator was acquiring about 1 million new mobile subscribers a year, while fixed-line and internet connections stood at 1.33 million and 0.94 million respectively. In addition, its operations outside of the UAE are expected to contribute more to profit this year.

"Foreign countries will contribute more this year," Qamzi told Reuters. "Saudi Arabia will lead." The incumbent already operates in 16 countries and is also looking to enter the Indian telecoms markets, holding talks with companies including Spice Communications.

The company said its AED 2.33 billion ($634.4 million) sale of 43.75 million shares in its Saudi affiliate Etihad Etisalat would appear in its second-quarter report. For the full year, it expects its profit rise to exceed first quarter growth.

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