Wataniya Q4 profit falls 26.5%
Telco cites domestic competition, foreign exchange losses
Kuwait's number-two telco Wataniya was hit by a 26.5% dip in net profit in the final quarter of 2012, Reuters reported on Friday.
The company, a Qatar Telecom (Qtel) affiliate, drew net profit of KWD12.6m ($44.78m) in the three months to December 31. This fell short of EFG Hermes' forecast of KWD18m, and was down from KWD17.1m in Q4 2011.
Despite an increase in its customer base Wataniya was unable to overcome tougher domestic competition. The company also cited foreign exchange losses in Tunisia and Algeria.
"Foreign exchange impacts again impacted profitability, and competitive dynamics in Kuwait remain challenging," said chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani.
Wataniya's main rival at home, Zain Group, also cited currency fluctuations as the reason for its 12.7% drop in 2012 full-year profits. Zain, like Wataniya, had seen growth in its subscriber base.
In May 2007 Kuwait dropped the dinar's peg to a sliding US dollar, adopting a currency-basket approach, although the dollar is believed to form the largest share in the basket.
In Kuwait, Wataniya also battles with Saudi Telecom Co (STC) affiliate Viva, while abroad it operates in Algeria, Tunisia, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Territories.