Batelco operating profits slip 14% in H1
CEO says Bahrain's telecom market is now ‘ex-growth’ for profits, revenues
Batelco has posted a 14% slide in group net profit in the first half, with the firm's CEO warning that the Bahraini market now holds no further growth prospects following the entry of a third mobile operator.
The Bahraini incumbent announced net profits of $124 million, and blamed the result on local competition and the funds required for its start-up venture in India.
Group revenues during the first half stood at $453 million.
"Overall our gross revenues did not grow in the first half of 2010 predominantly due to the entry of the third mobile operator in the Bahrain market," said Batelco CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos.
"Reduced market share for mobile and broadband services in Bahrain and strong price erosion adversely affected our revenues and profits. We also expected lower profits due to funding the growth of our start-up operation in India."
Outside its home market, Batelco posted better results, with mobile customers rising by 47% to 6.88 million, with broadband services growing by 54% to 230,600 customers during the first half.
In Jordan, Batelco's Umniah subsidiary saw a 14% increase in mobile users, while Sabafon - in which the group holds a 26.5% equity investment - saw its mobile base rise by 22%.
The group's entire customer base now stands at 7.3 million.
"We have welcomed further competition in Bahrain and increased our mobile customers but the Bahrain market is now ex-growth for revenue and profits," Kaliaropoulos said.
"We continue to explore suitable M&A opportunities in North Africa, India and Asia Pacific regions, with our preference being companies that have recently begun operations or are already established and still growing."