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Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani (left) and Dr Nasser Marafih
DOHA: Driven by its solid performances in Qatar, Iraq, Algeria, Palestine and Indonesia, Qtel Group’s revenue grew 6.1 percent during the first nine months of the year. Net profit attributable to Qtel shareholders grew 12.6 percent to QR2.4bn during the period. Earnings per share in nine months stood at QR8.34 against QR8.17 for the same period in 2011.
As of September 30, 2012, the Group’s consolidated customer base stood at 89.2m compared with 82.4m in 2011, representing an 8.2 percent year-on-year increase in total customer numbers. Group revenue for 9M 2012 demonstrated continued growth at QR25bn against QR23.6bn during the same period in 2011. Group EBITDA for the period stood at QR11.7bn with an EBITDA margin of 47 percent achieved.
Commenting on the results, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman of the Qtel Group, said: “The results confirm that the Group’s strategy and management is delivering financial performance that keeps us on a positive trajectory. As further evidence of this, we have taken steps during the period to increase our stake in Wataniya Telecom and look forward to building on our achievements in the period and delivering a successful outcome to the year as a whole.”
Dr Nasser Marafih, Chief Executive Officer of Qtel Group, said: “The performances in Qatar, Iraq, Algeria and Palestine are very impressive and were key to helping us deliver robust revenue and EBITDA growth during these first nine months of the year. We view technology and service leadership as a strategic differentiator in key markets, demonstrated in the most recent quarter by our successful 3G launch in Tunisia and the launch of a trial phase for 4G services in Qatar.”.
In Qatar, Qtel continued to strengthen its position in a competitive and dynamic marketplace, ending the period with 2.5m customers (9M 2011: 2.4m). Revenue increased by 9.4 percent year-on-year to stand at QR4.6bn (9M2011: QR4.2bn). EBITDA performance showed an increase of 9.6 percent year-on-year to QR2.5bn (9M 2011: QR2.2bn).
Qtel enhanced its portfolio of products and services in the quarter, launching the trial phase of its 4G LTE service, in preparation for the commercial launch at the end of 2012. The company also revamped roaming and mobile money services.
Indosat continued to make positive progress in the most recent quarter, building upon the good momentum already demonstrated in the first half of 2012. Indosat’s subscriber base as of September 30, 2012, stood at 55.7m, representing a 7.4 percent increase year-on-year in subscriber numbers. Revenue performance has also remained steady during the period, with revenue for 9M 2012 standing at QR6.4bn (9M 2011: QR6.4bn). .
Wataniya has continued to experience increased competition in Kuwait. As a result, Wataniya’s financial performance during the period at a group level was impacted. Wataniya’s consolidated customer base remains strong at 18.8 m compared to 17.4m during the first nine months in 2011.
The Oman market remains highly competitive which has had a bearing on performance. Nawras closed the period with a customer base of 2.1m. Revenue for the period is down slightly at QR1.40bn. The Qtel Group currently has a 53.9 percent stake in Asiacell with plans to further increase its shareholding to 60 percent subject to Iraqi Government and Regulatory Authority approval.
During 9M 2012 Asiacell continued to demonstrate the strong growth and subscriber momentum seen in prior consecutive quarters. In 9M 2012 Asiacell’s customer base grew by 12.6 percent to 9.8 million against 8.7m in 2011. This growth has translated into a positive year-on-year revenue growth performance, with Asiacell revenue advancing 16.4 percent in 9M 2012 to QR5bn.