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Profits stabilise for Gulf operators

Gulf telcos report limited growth in the first quarter of 2009 after declines experienced in Q408

Business appears to be returning to normal for Gulf telecom operators Qtel, Batelco and Etisalat, with first quarter profits stabilising or increasing after the declines in growth experienced in the final quarter of 2008.

Qatari incumbent Qtel reported a net profit of QR604.4 million ($166 million) for the first three months of the year, a significant rise on previous quarter’s profit of QR446 million ($122 million).

However, the Q1 result failed to eclipse the company’s QR651 million ($178.7 million) profit from the third quarter of last year, when the effects of the global economic crisis were just starting to be felt in the region.

Qtel’s Bahraini counterpart Batelco was also upbeat after reporting a first quarter net profit of BD26.3 ($69.8 million) on a gross revenue of BD83.7 million ($222 million), a modest improvement on its Q408 net profit of BD25.87 million ($68.64 million).

But first quarter profits at Batelco also remained well below the heights of Q308, when the company reported a profit of BD78.3 million (USD207.7million), on a turnover of BD245.4 million (USD650.9 million).

Meanwhile, UAE incumbent Etisalat reported a net profit of AED2.178 billion ($593 million) on revenues of AED7.119 billion ($1.938 billion) for the first quarter of 2009.

This was a significant rise on the previous quarter when the company reported a net profit of AED 1.4 billion ($381.1 million) on revenues of AED 7.1 billion ($1.93 billion), but despite this, Q1 results showed little growth compared to the third quarter of 2008, when the company achieved a profit of AED 2.1 billion ($57.2 million).

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