Qatar-based operator group Ooredoo reported improved results for the first quarter of 2013, with a strong revenue performance across its operations internationally, as it transitions to its new brand.
It was announced in February that the new name Ooredoo would replace the Qtel brand, with the change coming into effect in Qatar on 11 March. The new identity will be rolled out across the group in 2013 and 2014, and the company said the operational results “reflect the investment in the brand”.
On a group level, it generated a net profit attributable to shareholders of QAR808 million ($221.9 million) in the quarter, up 13.6 per cent year-on-year, on revenue which increased by 5.2 per cent to QAR8.4 billion
Its total subscriber base hit 91 million, a 7.7 per cent increase from the end of Q1 2012.
“We see positive developments in customers and usage in mobile data and broadband services in line with our strategic focus,” said Ooredoo chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani.
The sales growth was driven by a strong performance by Indosat in Indonesia, the company’s biggest revenue generator, which saw an 8.8 per cent increase to QAR2.2 billion. This operator had 56.1 million subscribers by the end of the period, compared to 52.3 million a year earlier.
Ooredoo attributed the subscriber growth to improved network performance and coverage and a new online and social media channel launched last year.
In Qatar, the company had 2.7 million subscribers by the end of the period, compared to 2.4 million a year earlier. Revenue in Ooredoo’s home market reached QAR1.6 billion, a 4.9 per cent year-on-year increase.
Ooredoo’s Wataniya Telecom — covering Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the Maldives and Palestine — posted a 0.9 per cent increase in revenue to reach QAR 2.4 billion. Within this group, Algerian brand Nedjma recorded a 16 per cent increase in revenue to reach QAR926 million.
However, the division had some competitive challenges during the period with Tunisia performing slightly worse than a year ago with a 5 per cent revenue drop.
In Oman — where Ooredoo is upgrading technology to meet broadband and data demand — the Nawras division grew its customer base to 2.2 million, a 10 per cent increase, and generated QAR475 million in revenue, a 3 per cent improvement.
Ooredoo raised $1.27 billion through the IPO of its Asiacell division in Iraq during the quarter. This business produced revenue of QAR1.7 billion, a 5.6 per cent increase.
Ooredoo is one of the two groups bidding to acquire a 53 per cent stake in Moroccan number-one operator Maroc Telecom and is also one of the 12 operators vying for two operating licences being offered in Myanmar.