Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) has reported revenue of AED32.946 billion (USD8.97 billion) for the twelve months ended 31 December 2012, an increase of 2% from AED32.242 billion a year earlier, on the back of an 11% year-on-year rise in international turnover to AED9.4 billion. The growth in the firm’s overseas operations offset a 1% decline in UAE revenues to AED22.7 billion for 2012, which was mainly attributed to a fall in fixed and mobile voice revenue that was not completely compensated for by growth in the internet and data segments. Egyptian unit Etisalat Misr generated turnover of AED5.1 billion in 2012 (an increase of 13% over the previous year), while the Africa cluster contributed AED2.8 billion (up 9%) and Asian operations accounted for AED1.6 billion (up 11%), mainly driven by subscriber uptake in Afghanistan (in part attributed to the launch of 3G in March 2012) and Sri Lanka. Etisalat, which is 60% owned by the UAE government, said that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) climbed 6% from AED15.882 billion in 2011 to AED16.855 billion the following year, mainly due to revenue growth as well as more effective cost management that led to lower network cost and project based expenses. Consolidated net profit after royalty rose 15% to AED6.742 billion in 2012, compared to AED5.839 billion a year earlier. Etisalat said net profit was affected by the new royalty scheme that was applied in 2012, as well as profit recognised on the disposal of Indonesia’s PT XL Axiata. It was also hit by impairment charges of AED2.366 billion and AED459 million related to investments in Pakistan (PTCL) and Sudan (Canar), respectively, due to inflation and tough political and economic conditions in the two countries.
At the end of December 2012, Etisalat reported an aggregate subscriber base of 139 million, an increase of 18% from 117 million a year earlier. Domestic mobile customers grew 12% year-on-year to seven million and fixed broadband customers by 8% to 800,000, while UAE fixed line subscribers fell 6% to 1.1 million, mainly due to the migration of customers to Etisalat’s eLife multi-play packages, of which there were around half a million at the end of 2012 (up 46%). The company said that the customer base of its African cluster rose 29% to twelve million, although the Asia segment reported a 9% drop in subscribers to 8.2 million at end-2012, due to the deconsolidation of its Indian unit Etisalat DB in March 2012. Consolidated capital expenditure was AED4.2 billion in 2012, down by 3% year-on-year; in the UAE the figure was AED1.8 billion (an increase of 2%), which was mainly focused on enhancing capacity and its 4G network.