UAE's Etisalat says Q3 net profit up by 28%

Telecom operator's revenue remains flat; overseas markets make greater contribution
Ahmad Julfar said Etisalat has recorded significant growth from its international operations.
Ahmad Julfar said Etisalat has recorded significant growth from its international operations.

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Etisalat on Tuesday said net profit after federal royalty increased to AED2.2bn ($598.9m) in the third quarter, up 28% year on year.

Consolidated revenues remained flat at AED8bn, while revenue from international operations grew to AED2.4bn, up 7%, the UAE telco said in a statement.

The contribution from international operations grew to 30% of total revenues compared to 28% a year ago.

The Q3 performance included a net profit of AED430m from selling a 9.1% stake in Indonesia's PT XL Axiata that cut Etisalat's holding to 4.2 percent.

Aggregate subscribers grew annually by 20% to 130 million, it said, adding that net profit rose 19% compared to the previous quarter.

In its home market of the UAE, active subscriber base grew to 9 million representing annual growth of eight percent with mobile subscribers growing to 7 million, up 11 percent.

Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, group chief executive officer, Etisalat, said: “Over the past three months, we have recorded significant growth in our international operations, despite regional socio-economic tensions, and we are pleased with the developments we have made across our key markets, specifically in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and West Africa, as well as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

“The positive results that we have achieved from our international operations reflect the investment that we have put in to our markets, helping us increase customer retention and acquisition, as well as reinforcing our commitment to delivering new technologies and services across our global customer base."

He added: “We will continue to study means to enhance our services to existing customers, and look at expanding in other markets should the right opportunities arise.

“Our focus moving forward will be on developing the level of service and meeting the expectations and demands of our customers in the UAE and our key markets, as well as data services.”

Operating expenses were AED4.619bn in the third quarter, compared to AED5.024bn in the year-ago period although staff expenses increased to AED1.079bn representing a year-over-year increase of 6%.

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