UAE-based operator group Etisalat announced strong results for the first quarter of 2015, which it claimed in a statement “allows us to move forward in confidence as the leading operator in emerging markets, delivering advancements in each of the countries we operate in.”
As with previous periods, the company benefited from its acquisition of Maroc Telecom last year.
For the period to 31 March, the company announced a profit for the period of AED2.18 billion ($593.6 million), up 7.6 per cent year-on-year, on revenue of AED12.91 billion, up 30.4 per cent.
“Quarter one has provided a strong start to the year but, in line with our business strategy, we will continue to expand our service offering across our footprint in order to diversify our revenue base and cement our regional leadership position,” Ahmad Julfar, group CEO, said.
UAE revenue increased by 11 per cent year-on-year to AED7.2 billion, as a result of “strong performance in voice and data in both fixed and mobile segments”.
The company trumpeted its role in the government’s Smart Cities drive.
“To make initiatives such as Smart Cities a reality requires innovation and investment. Our strong financial performance provides the base to move forward, as we cannot afford to stand still in the rapidly developing telecommunications industry,” the executive said.
Following the consolidation of Maroc Telecom, international revenue increased by 69 per cent to AED5.6 billion, representing 44 per cent of group sales.
But the picture was not wholly rosy: revenue was pressured in Egypt due to currency devaluation (although it grew in local currency), while in Pakistan it saw a “highly competitive environment in the mobile segment and the continued slowdown in international traffic”.
The company also noted that its bottom line was impacted because “we did not account for a major associate that has not declared its results for the period ending March 2015” – presumably a reference to troubled Mobily.
The company ended the period with 173 million subscribers, having gained 28 million during the last 12 months. This was mainly due to the consolidation of Maroc Telecom, and strong growth in UAE, Nigeria and Afghanistan.