Saudi Mobily's Q4 profit up 51%, beats estimates

Arab state's second largest mobile phone operator beats analysts' Q4 forecasts.

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By  Souhail Karam Published  January 21, 2009

Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), Saudi Arabia's second-largest mobile phone operator beat analysts' fourth-quarter earnings forecasts due to higher revenues from voice and data services.

Mobily made 778 million riyals ($207.5 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, 51 percent higher than the 514.4 million riyals ($137.2 million) it made a year-earlier, the firm said in a statement posted on the bourse's website.

Analysts forecast of Mobily's fourth-quarter earnings ranged from 458 million riyals ($122.15 million) to 605.6 million riyals ($161.52 million), according to a Reuters survey.

The affiliate of Emirates Telecommunications Corp made a net profit of 2.09 billion riyals in 2008 up from 1.38 billion riyals in 2007 after its turnover rose 27.9 percent. The rise in 2008 turnover stemmed from "a rise in the number of subscribers, minutes of communications and an increase in demand for broadband services," it said.

Earnings per share rose to 4 riyals ($1.07) in 2008 from 2.64 riyals ($0.70) the previous year. The company will give its shareholders a dividend of 0.75 riyal ($0.2) per share for 2008.

Mobily competes with Saudi Telecom Co, the largest Arab telecom firm by market value, for mobile phone and broadband users in the kingdom, home to 25 million people. The company posted a worse-than-expected 62 percent fall in Q4 results on Tuesday.

Zain Saudi Arabia, an affiliate of Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain), started operating a third mobile phone network in the third quarter of 2008.

Mobile phone penetration in the largest Arab economy exceeds 100 percent.

Emirates Telecommunications Corp owns 26.25 percent in Mobily, having sold an 8.74 percent stake in the firm at 55 riyals per share last year. (Reuters)

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