Qtel’s EBITDA climbs 8.2%; profits dip 11.8%

31 Jul 2012

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has posted its consolidated results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2012, in which it noted an 11.8% year-on-year drop in half-year net profit to QAR1.352 billion (USD371 million), caused largely by foreign exchange losses in Indonesia and Algeria. The company added that, excluding FX impact, ‘operational results showed growth of around 9%.’ The Doha-based group’s six-month revenues grew by 6.1% to QAR16.387 billion, driving EBITDA up by 8.2% to QAR7.796 million in January-June 2012, as Qtel’s total customer base climbed by 8.0% year-on-year to 83.7 million mobile, broadband and fixed line subscriptions.

Looking at operational highlights, in Indonesia, Indosat’s subscriber base stood at 51.1 million at 30 June 2012 (1H 2011: 47.6 million), representing a 7.4% increase year-on-year. 1H 2012 revenue grew in local currency but due to foreign exchange translation decreased in reported currency by 2.2% to QAR4.1 billion (1H11: QAR4.2 billion). Depreciation of the Indonesian rupiah during the year had a significant impact on profitability, but underlying EBITDA continued to be strong at QAR2.1 billion (1H11: QAR2.0 billion).

In Iraq, Qtel said that Asiacell continued to deliver strong customer and profit growth during the period, while revenues increased by 17.5% to QAR3.3 billion (1H 2011: QAR2.8 billion) and EBITDA grew by 19.6% to QAR1.8 billion (1H 2011: QAR1.5 billion).

The majority-owned Wataniya Telecom’s consolidated customer base reached 18.3 million (1H 2011: 16.9 million) across Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the Maldives and Palestine. Consolidated revenue in 1H 2012 was QAR4.8 billion (1H 2011: QAR4.6 billion) and EBITDA remained stable year-on-year at QAR2.0 billion.

The group’s Qatar division ended June 2012 with 2.43 million customers (up from 2.38 million a year earlier). Six-month revenue increased by 7.2% year-on-year to stand at QAR3.1 billion (1H 2011: QAR2.9 billion). EBITDA performance showed an increase of 5.8% year-on-year to QAR1.64 billion (1H 2011: QAR1.56 billion).

Qtel has recently made progress in plans to up stakes in some of its subsidiaries. An agreement has been reached in Iraq, subject to government and regulatory approval, to increase Qtel’s shareholding in Asiacell to 60% for a total consideration of QAR5.4 billion, while the group has submitted a proposal for approval by the Kuwait Capital Markets Authority which may lead to an offer for all the issued shares of Wataniya Telecom not already owned by Qtel, at a cost estimated at over QAR7.4 billion. In May the Qatari firm completed a fully subscribed rights issue, raising QAR6.8 billion.