Batelco group's net profit for Q1, 2017 was BD8.2 million ($21.8 million); a 14% decline compared to Q1 2016 but up by 58% over the previous quarter. The group attributes the decline to the impact of a BD1.5 million ($4.0 million) share of loss from its associate in Yemen.
For the quarter , the group reported gross revenues of BD 89.7 million ($237.9 million), in line with the prior year, with a marginal 1% decrease YoY and 5% decrease over Q4 2016. Revenues continue to be impacted by competitive pressure in a number of markets across the group. EBITDA for the period was BD32.3 million ($85.7 million), representing a margin of 36%. Despite an 8% decline over Q1 2016, EBITDA increased by 7% from the previous quarter.
The net assets of the group stood at BD525.8 million ($1,394.7 million) and substantial cash and bank balances of BD180.1 million ($477.7 million). Earnings per share for the first quarter of 2017 are 4.9 fils.
Batelco group chairman, Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said that he was pleased to note a substantial improvement in net profits over the last quarter of 2016. “We continue to be responsive to changes in the various markets we operate in and strive to deliver relevant services and solutions that most suit our customers in each location. Strengthening our digital capabilities remains high on the agenda in a number of the Group’s operations; accordingly we are investing in fibre networks and the development of our digital solutions portfolio,” he added. He further said that the group is focused on playing its part in ensuring that Bahrain is among the best connected countries in the wider region.
Batelco group CEO Ihab Hinnawi said that customers’ needs continue to evolve in line with global trends towards a digital world marked by smart home and smart city living. “This is reflected by growing subscriber numbers for mobility and broadband in a number of our operations, leading to a 2% overall increase in the group’s customer base compared to 2016. It is pleasing to note that Batelco Bahrain posted YoY increases in fixed and broadband customers of 4% and 33% respectively.”
For the period, 59% of revenues and 54% of EBITDA was attributable to operations outside of Bahrain.
Hinnawi said that in Bahrain the availability of superfast fibre services is having a positive impact on customer numbers with broadband subscriber numbers up by 9% over Q4 2016 and 33% year over year. “Our fibre rollout continues to be very successful as we push to reach all areas of the Kingdom including new residential and business locations and replacing out of date infrastructure with the latest technologies.”
“Partnerships continue to be of high value to us and during the first quarter we announced a mobile network enhancement deal for 2017-2018 in collaboration with Ericsson. The agreement will have a huge impact on the user experience through improved Mobile internet coverage and service quality and furthermore, it will enable Batelco to start the journey to 5G and IoT by providing network virtualisation services and improved 3G and LTE indoor capacity for customers.
“Bahrain is a very cosmopolitan location with residents travelling far and wide; to support their communication need whilst on the move, Batelco now offers Data Roaming bolt-on services in over 50 locations, delivering unlimited data at reasonable fixed rates. This service is proving to be very popular and we continue to add new countries regularly,” added Hinnawi. “Batelco Bahrain’s digitisation goals will continue to take high priority throughout 2017 as we develop our portfolio for all customers, with a strong emphasis on the evolving needs of the business sector in line with our role as the Kingdom’s foremost enterprise solutions provider.”