Batelco holds annual general meeting
Manama, February 25, 2013
Bahrain-based Batelco Group today held its annual general meeting for the 12 months ended December 31, 2012, and additionally an extra-ordinary-general meeting to discuss proposed changes to its memorandum and articles of association.
The meetings, held at its Hamala headquarters, were attended by shareholders, company directors, executive management, management, employees and members of the press, a statement from the telecommunications company said.
The group’s 32nd AGM saw shareholders approve the recommendation of the board of directors for a full year cash dividend of BD36.0 million ($95.5 million), at a value of 25 fils per share, of which 15 fils per share was already paid during the third quarter of 2012 with the remaining 10 fils to be paid in March 2013.
The meeting also saw shareholders pass the board’s recommendation for a 10 per cent bonus share issue, awarding one extra share for every 10 shares.
The meeting, which was presided over by the chairman of the board, Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, follows the recently convened ordinary general meeting of the group held in January, which saw shareholders approve plans for the acquisition of cable & wireless communications’ (CWC) Monaco and Islands division.
“We are pleased to continue to build and return value to our shareholders as demonstrated by another strong dividend payment, bonus shares and the progress made throughout the past year in achieving growth and diversification of the group at all levels,” Shaikh Hamad said. “Delivering returns to our shareholders, which year after year surpass the industry average and that of our peers, remains a priority for the group and one which we work hard to balance alongside the continued investments we are making in the expansion of our network and the Batelco brand across the Mena region and globally.”
“As announced, we ended the year on a strong note with sound results and foundations for the coming year. For 2012, we reported net profits of BD60.3 million ($160.0 million). This was the result of effective operational management and ongoing strong cash flow generation, despite extremely competitive market conditions in Bahrain and across the Mena markets.”
“We also ended the year with a solid balance sheet comprising net assets of BD520.2 million ($1,379.8 million), low debt and cash and bank balances of BD95.0 million ($252.0 million),” he added. “The strength of our financial position, our strategy and the direction in which we are taking the Group, in addition to having the support of our shareholders, was also affirmed by Batelco’s continued Investment Grade Credit ratings from Fitch and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services confirmed in November 2012 and January, respectively. All of this paves a smooth path for the group as we pursue our strategy for delivering value and growth in the coming year.”
Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa, group CEO, provided highlights of Batelco’s financial and operating performance for 2012 and its strategy for growth and diversification for the year.
“2012 was another year of marked progress across the group,” said Shaikh Mohamed. “Throughout the year, we remained focused on maintaining market leadership in Bahrain and on growing our business and presence in overseas markets. We took decisive steps to enhance our competitiveness at home and across our operations – from a financial and operational perspective - through the adoption of a broad ranging programme aimed at maximising efficiency, competiveness and the cost structure of the group.”
“We also made considerable strides in the advancement of our growth strategy. Subscriber numbers for the year were successfully increased by 18 per cent, when normalised year over year, reaching 7.8 million customers across six markets.”
“As announced, we were also extremely pleased to have embarked upon a strategic acquisition in December 2012, which will see Batelco emerge as a global telecommunications company of reference with enhanced revenue streams and a global footprint and presence in some 17 markets in all.”
“With the approval of our shareholders, we are moving towards closing this transaction by the end of the first quarter of this year,” Shaikh Mohamed said. “We are also working hard on other key initiatives of the group which remain central to our ability to deliver even greater value for our customers and shareholders as we go forward.”
“The strength of Batelco and the success we continue to enjoy is wholly routed in our commitment to our customers and those we serve. At the centre of our operating and broader corporate philosophy is the continuing drive to develop, innovate and grow,” Shaikh Hamad said.
“This is essential in building our market leadership and maintaining the loyalty of our customers. It also shapes our approach to our relationships with the community and the investments and support that we are committed to providing to the many initiatives and organisations that we have long been associated with in Bahrain. During 2012, more than BD1.6 million was provided to sports, social, health and education related initiatives and charitable organisations. This comes in addition to our efforts to support start ups and the small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs that are the backbone of the economy.”
“Our success and our ability to serve our customers is ultimately the result of the tremendous hard work and commitment of our management teams and staff across the group. We also thank them for their ongoing dedication and support. Working together, we expect to deliver even stronger value and performance in the months ahead,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service