MEA operator group Etisalat announced a healthy revenue and profit increase in its second quarter results, attributing the boost to its acquisition of a majority stake in Maroc Telecom.
Consolidated revenue for the quarter was AED12.6 billion ($3.43 billion), a 27 per cent year-on-year increase. Net profit was AED2.51 billion, also up 27 per cent.
By the end of the second quarter Etisalat had 182 million subscribers, up 27 per cent on the 143 million at the end of the same period in 2013.
The consolidation of the 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom in May was a major contributor to the double-digit subscriber growth, Etisalat said.
Maroc Telecom generated AED3.3 billion in revenue during the second quarter, up 5.6 per cent year-on-year. It ended the period with 38.4 million subscribers.
Referring to the acquisition, Eissa Al Suwaidi, chairman of Etisalat, said the company is confident the largest deal in its history “adds a great value to Etisalat and its shareholders…and it will have a transformational impact on Etisalat and its key financials”.
The company touted its progress towards creating the “largest French-speaking West African cluster,” with a total of nine countries. It increased its West African footprint by four markets during the second quarter.
A share purchase agreement was struck in May for Etisalat to sell Atlantique Telecom – its wholly-owned subsidiary which has operations in Benin, Central African Republic, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Niger and Togo – to Maroc Telecom.
The $650 million deal was conditional on the conclusion of Etisalat’s acquisition of the Maroc Telecom stake and is expected to close during the third quarter.
As well as Morocco, Maroc Telecom includes operations in Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
Etisalat also has East African operations, in Tanzania and Sudan, part of an international business that now covers 19 markets.
“Our experience in markets across Middle East, Africa and Asia will truly complement Maroc Telecom’s deep expertise in their home market and in other markets in Africa,” noted Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Etisalat’s CEO.
Revenue from international operations increased 64 per cent, contributing 46 per cent of the total consolidated revenue.
Etisalat secured a 3G licence in Pakistan for $147.5 million during the period, contributing to an 84 per cent group capex increase during the second quarter (to AED3.4 billion).