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DUBAI: Etisalat, the Gulf’s No. 2 telecom operator, expects 2013 revenue of up to $9.4bn, according to a presentation the company gave to analysts, with the former monopoly also looking to consolidate its smaller assets.
This consolidation in what it terms “fragmented markets” could be through mergers, acquisitions or asset sales, the document states.
The UAE’s largest listed company, which has operations in 15 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has suffered a sustained profit slump in recent years as it took write downs of $1.6bn on troubled foreign units and tougher competition at home and abroad also weighed on the bottom line.
Etisalat’s 2012 profit was Dh6.74bn ($1.84bn), down 24 percent from a 2009 peak of Dh8.84bn. Yet revenue has grown over this period, reaching a record high of Dh32.95bn ($8.97bn) last year. This was up 2.2 percent from a year earlier. The company expects revenue to grow 3-5 percent in 2013, according to the presentation.
This would lead to full-year revenue of between $9.24bn and $9.42bn. Etisalat does not normally provide a profit or revenue outlook to the stock market.
The company did not provide a precise profit forecast in the presentation, but does warn margins will be under pressure, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) slated to be 49-51 percent of revenue this year, compared with 51 percent in 2012.
Capital expenditure is expected to be 14-16 percent of revenue, up from 13 percent last year, the document showed. Reuters