The UAE-based telecoms group Etisalat has reported an 8% drop in net profits for the three months to 31 March 2016 to AED2.00 billion (USD545 million), down from AED2.18 billion a year earlier. Etisalat, which has operations in 17 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, attributed the decrease to higher depreciation expenses and foreign exchange losses. Consolidated operating expenses were up 3% year-on-year to AED8.3 billion. Meanwhile, the group saw its overall subscriber total fall back 1% from twelve months before to 165 million due to SIM registration schemes in some markets leading to the disconnection of unregistered accounts. On a brighter note, sales for the first quarter were up 1% at AED12.85 billion.
Separately, Etisalat’s main rival in its domestic market, Du, has reported a 1.4% drop in first quarter net profit to AED480.1 million, with the fall blamed on increased taxes. Revenues for the first three months of the year were up 1.3% to AED3.09 billion.