Batelco Group’s gross revenues for the six months ended 30 June 2017 remained almost flat at BD181.1 million ($480.4 million) with a slight 1% decline YoY.
For the period, the group reported net profit of BD19.0 million ($50.4 million), a 16% decline YoY and a QoQ decline of 17% over Q2 2016. However, net profit is up by 32% compared to Q1 2017 as Q1 results were impacted by the share of loss from the Group’s investment in Sabafon, Yemen, due to the continued instability in the region caused by political unrest.
EBITDA for the period was BD64.0 million ($169.8 million), a 10% decline YoY. The YoY drop in EBITDA is a partly due to increased operating expenses compared to 2016, mainly higher network and IT costs as a result of network enhancements and additional sites across the Group. Despite the reduction in EBITDA, the group continues to sustain EBITDA margin of 35%.
Earnings per share were 11.4 fils and the Board of Directors has approved an interim cash dividend for shareholders of 10 fils per share for the six month period.
Batelco Chairman Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said that Batelco Group continues to be immersed in a lengthy period of harsh competitive pressure and the impact of this is reflected in the Group’s financial results. “This operating environment is due to circumstances in the telecom industry, not just in Bahrain, but across the geographies in which we operate. However, our strategy is evolving so that we are prepared to meet the ongoing changes in the industry. We are investing in restructuring and training to ensure we have the right mix of skills and expertise across our management and general staff teams.”
He added that the group is further continuously evolving on strengthening the relationship with customers by focusing on the overall customer experience rather than just customer services.
Batelco Group chief executive Ihab Hinnawi said that throughout the Group, in order to remain viable in the current digital era and to cater for the continuous digital demand from customers, Batelco’s affiliates and subsidiaries are in the process of transforming their operations by digitising all their touch points and internal processes in addition to introducing new digital services that will enhance the life of customers as part of the group digital strategy. “The provision of full digital services will enable a superior customer experience which is always among our key priorities,” added Hinnawi.
“We are very pleased to announce that overall subscriber numbers are up 4% YoY and 3% since Q1 2017. At the end of the six month period, 59% of revenues and 52% of EBITDA were attributable to operations outside of Bahrain. This is compared with 59% of Revenues and 57% of EBITDA in the first half of 2016.”
Batelco Bahrain CEO Eng. Muna Al Hashemi said that ongoing investment to modernise Batelco Bahrain’s systems and to implement innovative new solutions were key on the home operation’s agenda.
Hinnawi added that Bahrain Batelco has maintained a steady presence in the local market in spite of operating in a saturated playing field.