Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has posted a 12.2% year-on-year fall in consolidated net profit to QAR711 million (USD195 million) in the three months ended 31 March 2012, although the drop was largely caused by foreign exchange losses at its Indonesian unit, Indosat, whilst total group revenues rose to QAR8.0 billion in Q1 2012, up by 7.6% from QAR7.5 billion in the first quarter of 2011. EBITDA also increased, by 8.0% y-o-y to QAR3.8 billion in the first three months of 2012, with EBITDA margin remaining static compared to 1Q11 at 48%. Driving the revenue and EBITDA gains was an 11.7% annual increase in the firm’s consolidated customer base to 84.4 million at end-March 2012, up from 75.6 million a year earlier.
In its home market of Qatar, Qtel maintained its combined mobile, internet and fixed line customer base at roughly the same level year-on-year, reporting 2.4 million active connections at the end of Q1 2012, whilst increasing its quarterly domestic turnover by 6.4% year-on-year to QAR1.5 billion (1Q11: QAR1.4 billion). Qatar-only EBITDA climbed 2.8% to QAR798 million. In other notable markets, Indosat saw its client base reach 52.3 million Indonesian users (or 62% of Qtel’s group total) at 31 March 2012, an increase of 13.2% year-on-year, while revenues remained flat at QAR2.0 billion for the January-March period. Indosat’s first-trimester EBITDA rose by 3.7% to QAR990 million from Q1 2011’s figure of QAR954 million. Qtel’s Iraqi unit Asiacell achieved a 13.0% rise in total customers in the first quarter to reach 9.4 million mobile users at the end of March 2012, while revenues climbed 19.2% to QAR1.6 billion and EBITDA jumped 17.7% to QAR915 million. Nawras in Oman found sales growth more elusive, posting a 2.5% turnover decrease to QAR461 million in 1Q12 despite a year-on-year rise in total customers from 1.9 million to 2.0 million; the Omani unit’s EBITDA stood at QAR229 million in January-March 2012, a 5.6% fall compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Finally, amongst subsidiaries of Qtel’s majority-owned Kuwait-based division Wataniya, its Palestine unit passed a landmark of half a million customers while growing its revenue by 27.5% y-o-y to QAR72.5 million in Q1 2012. As reported separately last week, the Wataniya sub-group posted a 90% first-quarter net profit decline which stemmed mainly from one-off gains in the same period of 2011.