Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) has announced its financial results for full-year 2015, posting gross revenues of BHD372.4 million (USD956.5 million), down 4% year-on-year. The operator noted the fall was due to competitive pressure in a number of markets and the resultant loss of subscribers. Net profit, meanwhile, remained in line with 2014, sitting at BHD49.5 million, though operating profit recorded a loss, decreasing by 10% y-o-y to BHD70.2 million. EBITDA for the year was negatively impacted by reduced operating results, dropping to BHD137.9 million, against BHD144.7 million one year earlier.
In operational terms, mobile subscriptions increased in Batelco’s domestic market, as well as in Jordan (via the operator’s Uminah unit), and in the Maldives (Dhiraagu). Customer numbers declined by 21%, however, for cellco Sabafon due to the ongoing unrest in Yemen and a difficult operating environment, while Batelco’s Saudi Arabia-based subsidiary Etihad Atheeb (GO Telecom) reported an annualised decline of 13% for its broadband operations due to intense competition. At the Sure-branded Channel Islands and Isle of Man (CIIM) division, Batelco noted ‘strong consumer performance’, causing mobile and broadband subscriptions to rise by 1% and 9%, respectively, and Dhiraagu’s broadband services attracted 16% customer growth during the year. Overall Batelco’s total subscriber base decreased by 5%, attributed to declining numbers in Yemen on the back of the challenging political environment.
Batelco Group Chairman, Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, commented: ‘We continue to face demanding market conditions across a number of our group’s operations with the impact reflected in reduced subscriber numbers and negative revenue trends. While some of our operations ended the year on a positive note, the overall picture remains challenging. Nonetheless, we are optimistic that our cost transformation activities, investment in new networks including fibre and efforts to develop and strengthen our digital solutions portfolio, will ultimately boost subscriber numbers and the bottom line.’