Net profit at Bahraini telecoms group Batelco fell by 7% year-on-year to BHD24.3 million (USD64.5 million) in the three months ending 31 March 2010, due to start-up costs at overseas subsidiaries, whilst revenues rose 4% year-on-year to BHD66.8 million. Batelco CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos said of the headline results: ‘We offered guidance to our shareholders in January 2010 that, whilst we expected growth in revenues and operating profit, funding the growth of our start-up operation in India would reduce our year-on-year net profit. Batelco group Q1 results are in line with such market guidance.’ Efficiency and productivity initiatives helped EBITDA improve by 5% year-on-year, whilst group operating profit climbed by 7% to BHD27.8 million. Batelco’s operations outside Bahrain contributed 32% of revenues and 22% of EBITDA in the quarter under review.
The group’s overall customer base reached a total of 6.4 million at the end of Q1 2010, up by 35% compared to the same date in 2009, with increases reported in mobile and broadband customers across every market. In particular, start-up Indian operator STel claimed over a million customers by end-March 2010, whilst Umniah in Jordan reported having 1.65 million mobile subscribers at the same date, in addition to 19,000 combined WiMAX/ADSL customers.