News Column

Batelco Group's net profit increases 8pc

May 1, 2014

MANAMA: Batelco Group yesterday reported improved financial and operational performance in Bahrain as well as overseas markets for the first quarter.

The group's gross revenues stood at BD97.6 million ($258.9m) for the period, up from BD71m, an increase of 37 per cent year-on-year and 2pc decline over the previous quarter.

For the period, the group reported net profit of BD14.5m, versus BD13.4m, an increase of 8pc when compared to the corresponding period last year and 110pc compared to last quarter.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for the period was BD38.1m, representing a margin of 39pc, versus EBITDA of BD21.9m and a margin of 31pc for the corresponding period last year.

The increase in EBITDA was 17pc from the previous quarter.

The increased profits and EBITDA for the period were attributed to the ongoing positive impact of the group's overseas operations as well as the home market.

The positive impact of Batelco's overseas operations continues to boost the bottom line with 57pc of revenues and 54pc of EBITDA generated from markets outside Bahrain.

The group's balance sheet remained strong. As of March 31, net assets were BD599m with substantial cash and bank balances of BD197.7m.

Earnings per share for the first quarter were 8.7 fils.

"This is an encouraging set of results," Batelco Group chairman Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said.

"It is the fourth quarter that our expanded group operation has been included and we are pleased to note that our investment continues to deliver positive financial and operational results.

"It is important that we keep up the progress we are making across the group whilst continuing to focus on improving the products and services we provide to our customers in all markets of operation.

"By pooling of group resources, technologies and expertise, the Batelco Group aims to further enhance competitiveness and performance in all markets of operation," he added.

The total subscriber base has grown to 9.1m across the 14 geographies of the expanded operation, representing 2pc growth since the fourth quarter last year and 19pc year-on-year.

Mobile subscriber numbers grew 19pc year-on-year and 2pc quarter-on-quarter.

This increase was supported by strong performance in Bahrain and Jordan as well as across the majority of the group's other joint ventures.

Broadband customers increased by 27pc year-on-year and by 2pc since the previous quarter with results supported by progress in Jordan.

Additionally, fixed line subscribers have risen by 41pc year-on-year, boosted by the addition of the Island Portfolio.

Shaikh Hamad said that portfolio optimisation was part of the group's growth strategy and that topping up existing investments such as Quality Net was consistent with such strategy.

"The acquisition provides the right kind of fit for the group to enhance future value of its international operating companies by realising cost efficiencies and further telecom upside opportunities," he added.

For the period in Bahrain, mobile subscribers increased by 4pc quarter-on-quarter and 25pc year-on-year, to approximately 905,000 subscribers.

The positive results reflect a focus on delivering top quality products and services with best value, great offers and prize winning promotions.

Batelco Bahrain's broadband subscriber base remained steady since the previous quarter but showed a slight decline of 1pc year-on-year.

Furthermore, during the quarter Batelco entered into a number of partnerships and signed agreements with other leading enterprises.

The various deals will lead to the provision of Batelco's innovative Business solutions to support the growth and transformation of Bahrain as a leading business hub.

Batelco continues to invest in the development of a state-of-the-art fibre optic network with the aim to make available its portfolio of enterprise and consumer products across the kingdom.

"We have started the year in a positive fashion and are optimistic for the future," Shaikh Hamad said.

"Our grand plans this year include the roll out of superfast 4G LTE for four of our international operations - Dhiraagu and SURE Telecom in Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

"This is in line with our strategy to extend our expertise across our entire group to deliver greater benefits for our customers wherever they may live.

"We remain committed to delivering innovation, customer service and value and are confident in our ability to strengthen our financial and operational performance throughout 2014," he added.

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Source: Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)

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