Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) has attributed a 24% year-on-year fall in third-quarter net profit to lower revenues in its domestic market, whilst its results also reflected its share of losses from STel, its start-up mobile joint venture in India. Batelco’s chairman Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa announced that net income for the three months ended 30 September 2010 dropped to BHD19.3 million (USD51.1 million), down from BHD25.3 million in the corresponding period of 2009.
Over the first nine months of 2010 Batelco’s total revenues were reported as BHD256.1 million (no past-year figure provided), with net profit falling 17% year-on-year to BHD66 million. Nine-month operating profit of BHD80.8 million represented a 3% decline versus the same period in 2009. The group’s total number of customers stood at 7.9 million at end-September 2010, including a mobile subscriber base of around 7.5 million, up 53% from 4.9 million a year earlier. Umniah, Batelco’s 96%-owned subsidiary in Jordan, reached a mobile customer base of 1.8 million, whilst Sabafon in Yemen, in which the group holds 26.9% equity, reached 3.2 million subscribers. Saudi venture Etihad Atheeb (15% owned by Batelco, offering services under the GO brand) reported a total of 92,000 customers, up 5% quarter-on-quarter. Subscriber numbers at STel (42.7%-owned) grew to 1.64 million across its operations in Bihar, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh and the recently launched Assam and North East telecoms circles of India.
Batelco’s mobile customer base in Bahrain declined by 4% quarter-on-quarter to 836,000 at the end of September 2010, whilst broadband users also declined in the quarter to 86,000 customers, representing a 2% drop. The company added in a statement that ‘loss of profitable market share at home, particularly in the key areas of mobile, broadband and International Direct Dial (IDD), has presented Batelco with tough challenges in the home market … Batelco’s transformation into a lower cost organisation is underway.’