United Arab Emirates telco Etisalat has announced its consolidated annual net profit rose by 18.7% to AED8.7 billion (USD2.36 billion) during 2008 when compared to its 2007 net income of AED7.3 billion. Mohammed Khalfan Al Qamzi, CEO of Etisalat, said the improvement was due to an increase in subscribers at home and abroad; at the end of 2008, the company’s wireless subscriber base in the UAE increased to 7.3 million, a rise of 14% compared to the end of 2007, fixed line subscribers rose by 3% to 1.36 million and internet subscribers grew by 31% to 1.15 million. The company also reported its 2008 net revenues increased by 22% to AED26.1 billion when compared with the previous year. Chairman Mohammed Hassan Omran said ‘Acquiring new licences in Iran and India provides us with significant growth opportunities, and will support the development of our company for many years to come.’ Etisalat said it plans to invest USD1 billion in its first year of operations in Iran, after winning the country’s third mobile telephone licence in January.
For the fourth quarter of 2008 the group reported a net profit of AED2.1 billion, ‘before year-end adjustments, reflecting an increase of 18% as compared to the same period in 2007.’ However, Reuters reported the telco’s 4Q net income fell by 19.3% year-on-year to AED1.42 billion, based on its own calculations based on previous financial statements.