Etisalat issues $1.17 billion dividend
Operator aims to maintain shareholder support as it eyes potentially costly acquisitions.
Etisalat has approved a dividend of 60% of the face value of its shares for the financial year 2009, which equates to a total payout of AED4.3 billion ($1.17 billion). At the end of January, Etisalat reported net profits of AED8.8 billion ($2.4 billion) for 2009, on revenues of AED30.8 billion
Etisalat's board of directors also said it planned to issue a further 718.7 million bonus shares of AED1 each for existing shareholders, to be distributed at a ratio of one share for every 10 shares.
At 60%, the dividend payment is unchanged from last year, although in previous years the company paid bonus shares at a ratio of 2 shares for every 10 shares.
The news followed closely from reports that Etisalat was close to gaining a majority stake in Iraqi operator Korek Telecom, as it attempts to double its revenues within three years, according to Reuters.
At last week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Etisalat's chairman, Mohammad Omran, said the company was interested in potential acquisition targets and licences in countries including Morocco, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran, as well as other countries in Africa.