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Abdulaziz Saleh AlSaghyir, Mobily's chairman

Mobily Q2 profit jumps 13.4pc to $429m

Riyadh, July 16, 2013

Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), Saudi Arabia's No.2 telecom operator, beat analyst forecasts with a 13.4 percent rise in second-quarter net profit on Tuesday, while indebted telecom operator Zain Saudi reported a narrower second-quarter loss. 
For Mobily, revenue from data and business services increased and the firm made efficiency gains. Zain Saudi also said its revenue rose and financing costs fell.
Mobily, an affiliate of the UAE's Etisalat , made a second-quarter net profit of 1.61 billion riyals ($429.31 million), up from 1.42 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.
The firm said the profit increase was "due to the increase in business revenues, higher data revenues and improved efficiencies", but provided few further details.
Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast Mobily, which competes with former monopoly Saudi Telecom Co and Zain Saudi, to make a quarterly profit of 1.53 billion riyals.
Mobily's revenue for the three months to June 30 was 5.97 billion riyals, up from 5.68 billion riyals from the prior-year period.
The firm plans to buy a stake in loss-making fixed line operator Etihad Atheeb, a move seen as helping it offer service bundles that include voice, data and television services.
Saudi operators have focused on data and combined services to help offset slumping conventional call margins, which are under pressure due to the surging popularity of substitute services such as Internet-based phone calls and instant messaging.
Mobily's net profit for the first six months of 2013 was 2.95 billion riyals, up from 2.63 billion riyals a year earlier. Revenue rose 9 percent to 11.6 billion riyals over the same period.
Data revenue accounted for 28 percent of first half revenue in 2013, up from 25 percent in the first half of last year. 
Zain Saudi, the kingdom's No.3 mobile company, 37-percent owned by Kuwait's Zain, made a net loss of 370 million riyals ($98.7 million) in the three months to June 30, it said in a bourse statement. That compares with a net loss of 394 million riyals in the prior-year period.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Zain Saudi would make a quarterly loss of 374 million riyals.
The company has multi-billion dollar debts and has yet to make a quarterly profit since launching operations in 2008.
Zain Saudi agreed a deal with the government in June that would allow it to defer payment of licence-related fees, which could total around $1.49 billion over seven years.
Quarterly revenue was 1.71 billion riyals, up from 1.57 billion riyals a year ago.
Zain this increase "resulted from the increased number of subscribers", but did not give further details. It said financing costs in the second quarter were 174 million riyals, down 21 percent on the corresponding period of last year. - Reuters

Tags: Telecom | Saudi | Mobily | Zain |

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