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STC posts Q1 profit surge

Reduced losses from foreign operations boost bottom line by 54%, YoY

STC posts Q1 profit surge

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) saw a 54% year-on-year leap in first-quarter profit, following scattered asset sales and slighter losses from foreign opcos, Reuters reported.

Net profit was SAR2.39bn ($637.3m) in the first three months of this year, up from SAR1.55bn in the first quarter of 2013. However, the performance still missed an average analyst forecast of SAR2.7bn.

Abdulaziz Alsugair chairman and managing director, STC, said the telco would focus on success in its domestic market.

"At the same time, we continue to rationalise STC's international portfolio and evaluate options for some of these investments in order to take appropriate actions in the best interest of the shareholders," he said in a statement.

In Q1 2013, STC saw a loss of SAR500m on Indian unit Aircel and a SAR287m loss on Indonesian operation Axis. But STC sold Axis along with other assets worth SAR277m in the first quarter of this year and did not experience any drain from Aircel. The company reduced losses from investments to SAR107m in the first quarter from SAR516m a year earlier due to a change in the accounting treatment for Aircel.

STC is the kingdom's leading telecoms provider by market value and owns stakes in operators in the Gulf region, Turkey, South Africa and Asia. It competes domestically with Mobily and Zain Saudi. Mobily, the kingdom's number-two telecom operator, missed forecasts with a 4.5% rise in first-quarter net profit.

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