Nawras net profit falls 21pc in Q1
Dubai, April 28, 2013
Nawras, a top telecom operator in Oman, made a net profit of RO7.7 million ($20 million) in the three months of the year, down from RO9.8 million in the year-earlier period, marking a 21 per cent drop as text and domestic call income fell.
The firm posted a fifth straight quarterly profit decline as margins shrunk and depreciation rose while overall revenue increased 3 percent.
Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast Nawras, which ended Oman Telecommunication Co's (Omantel) monopoly in 2005, would make a quarterly profit of RO10 million.
Margins at Gulf telecom operators are under sustained pressure as subscribers increasingly switch to Internet-based communications such as instant messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) services.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), a key industry metric, fell 4.1 percent to RO23.2 million.
Nawras, majority-owned by Ooredoo (former Qatar Telecom), said increased depreciation arising from network modernisation had impacted its net profit.
First-quarter revenue was RO48.2 million, Nawras said in a statement. This compares with RO46.8 million a year ago.
Nawras attributed the revenue increase to rising income from fixed and mobile data and international calls, although income from text and domestic calls fell. The company did not provide a revenue breakdown.
The operator had 2.23 million fixed and mobile customers as of March 31, up 12.3 percent from a year earlier.
The company signed a new financing agreement of RO70 Million, followed by two additional bilateral revolving credit facility agreements worth RO20 million to support ongoing network investment and working capital requirements.
“We started the Network Turbocharging programme in order to increase speed, extend capacity and provide wider coverage giving our customers a more rewarding experience,” said Ross Cormack, CEO of Nawras.
“Initial feedback from customers in upgraded areas has been very positive and helped us to achieve positive customer and revenue growth in the quarter. These results were bolstered by further improvements in our customer care service levels, with our Champions helping to resolve customer issues in a faster and more satisfactory manner.
“Looking towards our future, we were also pleased to announce the launch of 4G LTE service adding another exciting Nawras milestone,” he added.
In January, Nawras said its 2012 annual profit fell 22.2 percent from a year earlier. – Reuters & TradeArabia News Service
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