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SURBSCRIBER BASE UP 24pc

Shaikh Hamad

Batelco posts H1 net profit of $71m, down 22pc

Manama, July 31, 2013

Bahrain-based Batelco, a leading telecom group, reported a net profit of BD27 million ($71.6 million) for the first half of the year from $91.8 million for the corresponding period of 2012, marking a fall of 22 per cent year-on-year.

This also reflected a 2 per cent increase since the last quarter, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

Also included were the results from the newly acquired island units consisting of Dhiraagu, Channel Islands & Isle of Man, South Atlantic and Diego Garcia which were bought from Cable & Wireless Communications at the beginning of April.

Profit for the period was impacted by a number of one-off expenses associated with the acquisition and related financing.

Earnings before tax, interest and other liabilities was $150.1 million, representing a healthy margin of 33 per cent, compared with $148 million for the corresponding period in 2012, a 1 per cent increase year-on-year and a 58 per cent increase quarter-on-quarter.

The group's gross revenue for the period stood at $452.8 million and was up 10 per cent from $411.9 million.

Operating profit was $88.9 million versus $102.1 million for the corresponding period in 2012, reflecting a 13 per cent decline year-on-year, but a 73 per cent increase over the first quarter of 2013.

In line with on-going efforts to diversify revenues and maximise investments, the group saw increased contributions from overseas markets both existing and the 10 new ones.

At the end of the six-month period, 50 per cent of revenues and 48 per cent earnings before tax and other costs was attributable to operations outside of Bahrain.

This is compared with 39 per cent of revenues and 35 per cent of EBITDA in the first half of 2012 and 42 per cent of revenues and 39 per cent of EBITDA during the first quarter of 2013.

The group's balance sheet also remained strong. As of June 30, there was substantial cash balances of $406.1 million.

Earnings per share were also healthy at 17.1 fils and the board approved an interim cash dividend for shareholders of 10 fils per share for the six-month period.

"We're pleased to announce our results for the first half of the year, which were enhanced by the inclusion, for the first time, of our recently acquired islands businesses," said chairman Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.

"As we have said, this was an accretive transaction that has enabled us to strengthen our financial performance and emerge as a more profitable and cash generative communications group.

"Diversification has long been an important part of our strategy and we've reached a milestone with half of our revenues and a considerably higher percentage of profits now being sourced from outside of our home market, where we are looking to continue to offset the impact of ongoing and aggressive competition," he said.

"With the on-going integration of these businesses and following a number of one-off expenses incurred during the quarter, we expect to see an even more positive contribution from our island assets as we go forward," he added.

"This, coupled with the progress we are making in improving our competitiveness across all existing operations, will enable us to deliver even stronger results for shareholders in the periods to come.

"Our commitment to shareholder value remains a priority and is reflected in yet another solid half-year dividend today approved by the board," he added.

Operationally, the group made considerable progress during the first half of the year and second quarter, achieving organic growth and growth through its recently completed acquisition.

For the period, the group's subscriber base grew to 8.6 million customers, a rise of 24 per cent year-on-year and 13 per cent since last quarter.

This reflected gains made over the past six months in a number of key existing markets of operation including Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen and Kuwait as well as the addition of approximately 573,000 acquired islands customers in the form of mobile, broadband and fixed line subscribers.

"This has been an exciting quarter and a strong first half of the year," Shaikh Hamad said. "We will work hard in the months ahead to further build on the progress that has been achieved.

"We continue to focus on strengthening our performance in our home market and in our overseas markets of operations - both long-standing investments and in our newly acquired businesses.

"With an expanded customer base, network and revenue streams, we are confident that we are better positioned than ever to serve our customers and our shareholders alike," he added. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Telecom | Batelco | profit | subscribers | First half |

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