Batelco’s Bahrain pain explains no-gain

27 Jan 2011

Bahraini telecoms group Batelco has posted full-year 2010 net profit of BHD86.8 million (USD230.2 million), a 17.4% decline over 2009, on net revenues that fell by 3% to BHD259.6 million. Although the group ended 2010 with a customer base of 9.2 million subscribers across its seven operating countries – up by 67.1% year-on-year – its annual financial results were affected by declining market share in Bahrain and by its share of expected losses for its Indian start-up mobile provider S Tel, which has just completed its first full year of operation. S Tel’s customer base alone has grown to over 2.3 million, representing a quarter of the group’s subscribers. At 31 December 2010 Batelco’s Bahraini customer base reached 770,000 mobile customers (6.3% lower than 2009), 88,500 fixed broadband users (4.5% growth) and 185,000 fixed lines, a decline of 7.4% compared to 2009, whilst mobile broadband subscribers ‘doubled’ in the year, although a total figure was not given. Umniah, Batelco’s subsidiary in Jordan, increased its mobile customer base by 31.5% to 2.1 million and Yemen-based Sabafon, in which the Group holds a 26.9% stake, ended December with over 3.6 million customers, a 40.2% increase over the past year.