Ooredoo reported a strong start to 2016, stating “the investments we are making in our data networks and services are leading to good operational trends across the business”.
Of the 10 operating companies within the group, eight offer 4G services – it said it was the first operator to launch 4G in Myanmar, and is moving toward a launch in Algeria. Data as a percentage of revenue is now 39 per cent, up from 34 per cent in H1 2015.
The company reported a Q2 net profit of QAR583 million ($160 million), up 16 per cent year-on-year, on revenue which was flat at QAR8 billion. For the year-to-date, profit increased 46 per cent to QAR1.46 billion, on revenue which fell 1 per cent to QAR15.9 billion.
Half year profitability was driven by “strong contributions from Indonesia, Myanmar and Algeria”, supported by positive foreign exchange movements.
Ooredoo’s portfolio includes some tough markets. In Iraq, it saw an increase in net profit despite falling revenue, “impacted by the security situation, the challenging economic environment and a decrease of customer purchasing power”.
And in Tunisia, profit and revenue fell, due to the economy suffering from a slowdown in tourism and depreciation of the Dinar.
The first half of the year also saw Ooredoo complete its acquisition of Kuwait-based ISP FASTtelco and dispose of its stake in Wi-tribe Pakistan.
Ooredoo ended the period with 130 million customers, up 14 per cent year-on-year. This was driven by its units in Indonesia and Myanmar.
Singapore sale mooted
It was reported this week that Ooredoo is looking to sell the indirect stake it holds in Singaporean integrated operator StarHub.
Bank HSBC has been appointed as an advisor, to gauge potential interest in the business, Bloomberg reported.
Ooredoo owns 25 per cent of Asia Mobile Holdings, which in turn owns 55.8 per cent of StarHub, giving Ooredoo the equivalent of around 14 per cent of the operator.
The remaining stake in Asia Mobile Holdings is owned by ST Telemedia, a unit of the Singaporean state-owned investment company.