Etisalat, the UAE-based telco with operations across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has reported a 38% rise in revenues for its third quarter to 30 September 2014, to AED13.24 billion (USD3.60 billion). Sales were boosted by the acquisition of a 53% controlling stake in Moroccan operator Maroc Telecom earlier this year, with the new subsidiary bringing in AED3.06 billion in the third quarter; on a like-for-like basis sales would have risen 6%, Etisalat said, boosted by strong performances in the UAE and Egypt. The group’s international operations now account for 48% of total revenues, including Maroc Telecom. Net profit for the three-month period increased to AED2.70 billion in 3Q14 from AED1.93 billion in the year-ealrier period, with the growth once again driven by Maroc Telecom; EBITDA jumped 53% to AED6.98 billion.
In operational terms, Etisalat reported 180 million subscribers group-wide at the end of September, up from 144 million a year earlier, but down from 182 million at 30 June 2014. In its domestic market subscriber numbers rose from 10.2 million in 3Q13 to 10.8 million this year; the 2014 total included 8.87 million mobile customers and 960,000 fixed broadband users. In Asia, Etisalat reported a fall in subscriber numbers, from 36.5 million in September 2013 to 34.7 million a year later, due largely to Pakistan where the combination of political unrest and a SIM registration scheme saw mobile users at its PTML subsidiary fall by 1.8 million over the twelve months to reach 26.7 million. Subscriber numbers in Africa, however, jumped from 12.0 million in 3Q13 to 51.3 million a year later, excluding Nigeria, with Maroc Telecom accounting for 39.4 million of the total at end-September 2014. Etisalat Nigeria saw its subscriber base climb from 15.8 million to 19.9 million in the year to 30 September.
Etisalat’s CEO, Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, commented: ‘We have continued to grow in our home market, but we are also increasing our foothold and profitability in international markets.’ He added: ‘We are confident that the projected growth coming from our international operations will continue to grow on track to contribute at least 50% of our overall revenues in the coming years.’