Subscriber growth at Orascom leads to earnings rise

Regional operator sees 22% increase in revenues

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By  Derek Francis Published  May 8, 2008

Orascom Telecom, the Egypt-based regional telecom operator, yesterday unveiled positive growth in the first quarter of 2008, with revenues rising 22% year-on-year to $1.295 billion.

In the three months to 31st March, 2008, EBITDA rose 28% to $584 million, as net income topped $210 million, an improvement of 25%.

The rise was largely due to an increase in the group's total subscriber base, which increased 38% from March 2007 to exceed 74 million. The large majority of its total customer base is derived from Mobilink in Pakistan (31.8 million), Mobinil in Egypt (16.1 million) and Djezzy in Algeria (13.8 million). However, bangalink in Bangladesh saw the sharpest increase in subscriber numbers, rising 115% from the same period in 2007 to 8.3 million subscribers today.

In addition, the group said that ARPU decline has slowed over the course of the year, with growth registered in the likes of Tunisia and Bangladesh. Proforma global ARPU in Q1 2008 - excluding Iraqna - stood at $6.6.

Other highlights in the quarter include the securing of a $2.5 billion committed bank facility, used to refinance outstanding debt and for general corporate purposes. In April, Orascom Telecom also announced a $1.6 billion cash tender offer for up to 106 million ordinary shares.

In January, Orascom Telecom was granted the first mobile licence in North Korea using WCDMA 3G technology.

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