Bahrain-based telecoms group Batelco, with operations across six countries, has reported an 8% year-on-year decline in net profit to BHD16.1 million (USD42.7 million) for the first quarter of 2012, with EBITDA also falling, to BHD28.3 million, down from BHD32.6 million for the same period in 2011. The group’s gross revenues stood at BHD78 million for the three months ended 31 March 2012, down by 4% from BHD80.8 million in Q1 last year. Operating profit for the first quarter was BHD19.6 million (BHD23.3 million). In January-March 2012 38% of Batelco’s revenues and 34% of operating profit were generated from markets outside of Bahrain, the group said, whilst it attibuted the falling level of profitability to ‘the continued impact of significant competition in Bahrain and in the highly competitive environments across the Middle East and North Africa.’ With the sale of its Indian subsidiary Stel, announced in February 2012, the group’s adjusted subscriber base now stands at some 6.9 million users across six markets. For the first three months of 2012, the group reported a decline in mobile subscribers of 40% since the previous quarter and by 32% when compared to the first quarter of 2011, largely due to an adjustment excluding STel operational and customer data. Disregarding STel, mobile subscriber numbers across the group for the first quarter would have shown a decline of 9% since the previous quarter and a 2% year-on-year fall, due to competitive pressures in Bahrain and elsewhere across the region. Broadband customer numbers on the other hand remained robust; for the first quarter, the group reported a 4% increase quarter-on-quarter and a 5% y-o-y rise.