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Du stems losses, beats forecast

UAE telecom posts Q1 loss of $16.8m as revenues rise 18% and firm's subscriber base reaches 1.76 million

UAE telecom Du said it boosted first-quarter revenue after adding mobile phone users and secured a 22% share of the market after fifteen months of operation.

The company's loss in the three months to 31st March narrowed to 61.7 million dirhams ($16.8 million), the Dubai-based firm said in a statement, without giving a year-earlier comparison. Du lost 215.85 million dirhams in the year-earlier period, according to data from newswire Reuters.

Revenue advanced more than four-fold to 756 million dirhams, said the company, which started in February last year.

"Our growth in revenue was driven by growth in mobile phone subscribers," chief executive Osman Sultan told Reuters by telephone after the results were released.

The number of active mobile phone users rose almost eight-fold to 1.4 million from 182,000 in the year to 31st March, Sultan said. There were almost 360,000 inactive users.

Investment bank EFG-Hermes forecast the company would make a loss of 107 million dirhams in the quarter.

When it started, Du ended the virtual monopoly of state-owned incumbent Etisalat.

Shares of Du were up 0.16% on the Dubai index at 0917 GMT. Still, the stock is down 16.73% this year, compared with Etisalat, which has risen 13.02% on the Abu Dhabi benchmark. (Reuters)