Qatar Telecom (Qtel) group’s net profit decreased 12.2 per cent to QR711.4 million ($195.37 million) in Q1, compared to QR810.8 million during the same period last year, mainly due to foreign exchange losses in its Indonesian unit, the group said.
The group delivered good revenue growth in the first quarter, with the same increasing by 7.6 percent to QR8.0 billion (Q1 2011: QR 7.5 billion), a statement said.
As of March 31, 2012 the group’s consolidated customer base stood at 84.4 million (Q1 2011: 75.6 million), a 11.7 percent growth. EBITDA for the same period increased 8.0 percent to QR3.8 billion (Q1 2011: QR3.6 billion). EBITDA margin remained robust throughout the period at 48 percent (Q1 2011: 48 percent), it said.
Commenting on the results, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, chairman, said: “We are pleased to have started a new year in a strong position, clear in our ambition and confident in the direction of our group. We have outlined a bold new strategy, and our operations are vigorously delivering upon it.
“In the first months of 2012, we have maintained our reputation for sustainable, profitable growth, delivering a 7.6 percent increase in revenue and an 8.0 percent increase in EBITDA. This positive financial performance continues to be driven by the strength of our in-country operations, the commitment of our operational teams, and the clarity of vision we all share as part of one Qtel Group family.”
Dr Nasser Marafih, chief executive officer, said: “This is an excellent start to the year and our strong first quarter performance confirms our view that we have a significant opportunity ahead of us as a group. Our revised ‘Drive’ strategy continues to roll out across our operations, ensuring that we remain closely focused on the three key factors that will maintain our growth momentum for the future.
“By focusing on the customer experience, strengthening the foundations of our business, and investing in growth, I am confident that we not only understand where future profitable growth for our Group can come from, but that we also hold a leadership position in the data, Broadband and connectivity arenas that will be key generators of profits in future years,” he said.
Qtel – Qatar: The company maintained its customer base in Qatar to end the quarter with 2.4 million customers (Q1 2011: 2.4 million). Revenue increased by 6.4 percent year-on-year to stand at QR1.5 billion (Q1 2011: 1.4 billion). EBITDA performance showed an increase of 2.8 percent year-on-year to QR798.0 million (Q1 2011: QR 776.2 million).
Indosat – Indonesia: Market conditions in Indonesia have remained challenging throughout the first quarter of the year. However during this time, Indosat has been able to continue to grow its customer base, maintain revenues and increase EBITDA margins. Indosat’s customer base increased by 13.2 percent to end the period at 52.3 million (Q1 2011: 46.2 million). Indosat Q1 2012 revenue stabilised at QR 2.0 billion (Q1 2011: QR 2.0 billion). EBITDA during the period increased 3.7 percent year-on-year to end Q1 2012 at QR989.9 million (Q1 2011: QR 954.3 million).
Wataniya Telecom: Wataniya Telecom (National Mobile Telecommunications Company) encompasses the Qtel Group’s businesses in Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Maldives and Palestine. Kuwait, experiencing a competitive domestic market, saw customer growth of 3.1 percent in Q1 2012, but at the same time a revenue decline of 7.1 percent. (It is worth noting that business in Q1 2011 benefited from the 50th Independence Anniversary and government stimulus payments, which had a positive impact on revenues). Wataniya domestic EBITDA in the first three months of 2012 stood at QR322.1 million (Q1 2011: QR 390.3 million), a decrease of 17.5 percent over the same period in 2011. Nedjma in Algeria delivered another excellent performance. Revenue in Q1 2012 increased by 21 percent to QR799.6 million compared to QR661.0 million in Q1 2011.
Tunisiana once again demonstrated that, even in a difficult economic environment, it can hold its ground against the competition and deliver good performance. The number of customers in Tunisia stood at 6.8 million, up 14 percent over 2011, fuelling revenues of QR645.9 million (+10.5 percent over Q1 2011). Wataniya Mobile Palestine achieved another key milestone, achieving more than half a million customers and increasing revenue by 27.5 percent to QR 72.5 million.
Asiacell – Iraq: Asiacell’s ongoing investments in both network quality and service innovations continue to translate into strong brand recognition, excellent customer satisfaction scores and sustained financial growth. Customer numbers have maintained their upward trend, rising 13.0 percent during the first quarter to end Q1 2012 at 9.4 million (Q1 2011: 8.3 million). Revenue also increased year-on-year by 19.2 percent, to end the quarter at QR1.6 billion (Q1 2011: QR 1.4 billion). Asiacell also succeeded in further enhancing its EBITDA performance during the period, delivering first quarter EBITDA of QR915.4 million (Q1 2011: QR 778.0 million), an improvement year-on-year of 17.7 percent.
Nawras – Oman: In the first quarter, Nawras saw the competitive environment in Oman remain challenging. At the same time, continued lower SMS usage was only partially offset by increasing VOIP and data growth. At the end of March 2012, Nawras’ customer base stood at 2.0 million customers (Q1 2011: 1.9 million). Revenue generated from this base decreased by 2.5 percent during the period to QR461.4 million (Q1 2011: QR 473.1 million) and EBITDA stood at QR 228.6 million, a reduction of 5.6 percent compared to the previous year.