At Etisalat’s annual general meeting, shareholders have backed the board’s recommendation to pay full-year 2017 dividends of 80 fils per share. The AGM also approved the board proposed buy-back programme of 5% of the company’s paid capital, representing 434.8 million shares, for the purpose of cancelling or reselling.
H.E. Eissa Al-Suwaidi and H.E. Eissa Abdul Fattah Kazim have been appointed as chairman and vice president of Etisalat Group respectively. H.E. Hisham Abdullah Al Qassem, H.E. Mohammed Sultan Al Hamli, H.E. Saleh Abdullah Lootah and H.E. Mariam Saeed Ghobash have been appointed as members of the Board of Directors. The seventh member will be announced soon.
The General Assembly of Etisalat elected four Board Directors to fill the Board seats un-assigned for the Government Shareholders. The new members are: H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Mohd Sultan Bin Suroor Al Dhahiri, H.E. Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Bin Nasser Alserkal. H.E. Khalid Abdulwahid Hassan Alrustamani, H.E. Otaiba Khalaf Ahmed Khalaf Al Otaiba.
Etisalat Group's net profit for 2017 after federal royalty reached AED 8.4 billion($2.3 billion), resulting in a net profit margin of 16%. Furthermore, consolidated EBITDA totalled AED 26 billion($7 billion) for 2017, resulting in EBITDA margin of 50%.
Eissa Al-Suwaidi, chairman, Etisalat Group said: “As an industry leader, and as part of our natural progression, we are transitioning into a digital organisation both internally and externally across our markets, albeit with different trajectories. Etisalat Group has led the transformation in the region by proactively responding to technological developments, and by adopting to the latest innovations and industry trends.”
“Under our new powerful digitally inspired vision, our operating companies will be working jointly to realise such a digital ambition that will maximise growth opportunities moving forward.”
“Today technology has a major impact on the daily lives of people with our efforts focused on creating unique capabilities and improving competitive advantage through the interaction of technology and people. Etisalat worked on initiatives to target specific segments of the society. Maroc Telecom is an example of ICT integration in teaching and learning working alongside with the government implemented ICT initiatives across schools in Morocco. Our long-standing commitment to supporting good health was visible across our footprint such as Etisalat Misr’s participation with World Health Organisation to provide free treatment to thousands of Hepatitis C patients,” explained Al-Suwaidi.
“Our geographic footprint today presents substantial opportunities and at the same time some challenges. Etisalat has always seen beyond the obstacles and acted diligently to protect the long-term interests of its shareholders and will continue its efforts to maintain a healthy business portfolio.”
Eng. Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, GCEO, Etisalat Group said: “Etisalat has launched a new bold vision and an associated corporate strategy to maximise shareholder value in light of the ongoing evolution within the telecom sector and the challenging macroeconomic and geopolitical situations exhibited in some of its operating markets.
“From the slowdown of GDP in certain countries to devaluation of some currencies, the circumstances remain challenging, yet we continue focus on our balanced and healthy portfolio.”
“Etisalat’s footprint today is spread across 16 countries serving 142 million subscribers in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. And while our operating companies differ in the level of their digital maturity, we believe in our ability to transform internally and to elevate the digital capability across all markets organically. Such effort will go hand in hand with our strategic imperative of solidifying our position in all operating markets aided by superior network, strong core business, and innovative new revenue streams,” said Al Abdooli.
“Moreover with the acquisition of 4G licence in Egypt via Etisalat Misr, we are now offering 4G services in the majority of our operations. We foresee such investments as foundational in our digital journey and a solid testament of our plans to make technology available to our customers.
“Launch of swyp, which is the new youth digital platform in the UAE, was an important acknowledgement of the major shift in consumer behaviours and a declaration of the importance of the new tech savvy generation, the millennials.”
He added: “And while talking about 2017, it would be hard to miss the new game changing developments in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, which we didn’t overlook and considered primitively in various trials, as we pioneered a dedicated strategic programme with prime focus on assuring that Etisalat capitalises such technology for the best interest of business and customers. Such a move will support our digital transformation and is believed be to promising on the longer term.
“Etisalat’s belief of the importance of open innovation and the need to elevate the innovation level in the surrounding ecosystem, was the drive behind establishing the ‘Etisalat Open Innovation Centre in 2017 marked another important milestone where we aim to showcase future technologies and solutions to our customers enabling them to make decisions that support in making the digital dream a reality.”
“Etisalat will remain committed to sustaining its technological leadership by investing in emerging and next generation technologies; Etisalat’s investment in 5G technologies is a prime example that has gained relevance because it is considered a major enabler for the gigabit internet and the Internet of Things, which is expected to surge exponentially as a natural outcome of global adoption of connected devices. We had a successful launch of the first 5G Ultra-Mobile broadband experience in the region. A pre-commercial 5G network was deployed in certain locations within the UAE. With the fastest 5G live trial reaching 71Gbps, this was another record in the region,” said Al Abdooli.