Home / Orascom Telecom says Q1 net income rises 25%

Orascom Telecom says Q1 net income rises 25%

Arab regional mobile operator Orascom Telecom said on Wednesday its net income rose 25% to $210 million in the first quarter of 2008, as the firm added nearly 4 million subscribers.

Orascom Telecom, headed by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, said subscribers exceeded 74 million by the end of March, a 38% increase from a year earlier on a proforma basis excluding Iraqna, which it sold last year.

The firm said its operations in Bangladesh, Egypt and Pakistan had each added more than a million subscribers in three months to end-March. Orascom is the fifth largest Arab mobile operator by market value.

Revenues rose 22% to $1.295 billion in the quarter, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation hit $584 million, up 28% from the same quarter of 2007.

Orascom has operations in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. It won a mobile phone licence in North Korea in January and plans to invest $400 million in infrastructure and licence fees there over three years.

Orascom has said it would bid for a second fixed-line licence in Egypt, expected to be auctioned in July.

The company offered to buy back 10.3% of its own shares in April because it had a large cash surplus and could not find attractive alternative investments.

Orascom shares, down about 12% this year, ended 0.3% lower at 80 Egyptian pounds ($14.93) on Wednesday. Goldman Sachs raised its price target on Orascom to 82 pounds in March ($1 = 5.36 Egyptian pounds). (Reuters)