Batelco profit-growth slows as costs surge

Bahrain telecom provider posts weakest growth in a year as expenses soar by a third.

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By  Mohammed Abbas Published  April 23, 2008

Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) posted its weakest profit growth in a year in the first quarter as costs soared.

Net income in the three months to March 31 rose 10.7% to 27.4 million dinars ($72.68 million), or 19.1 fils per share, compared with 24.76 million dinars, or 17.1 fils per share in the year-earlier period, the firm said on the Bahrain bourse website.

Expenses jumped 33.1% to 56.9 million dinars, the firm said.

Manama, Bahrain-based SICO investment bank had expected Batelco's first-quarter profit at 28.5 million dinars.

"They have very strong top line but we're seeing higher expenses, which is the cost of running the business," Jithesh Gopi at SICO said. "This is increasing faster than the revenues."

Facing pressure from regulators at home to open up its telecoms network to rival operators, Batelco has expanded abroad into Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait and Egypt, and has initial approval to operate in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)

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