Batelco has announced its financial results for the three months ended 31 March 2016, reporting gross revenues of BHD90.9 million (USD239.5 million), a drop of 3% year-on-year, and 2% quarter-on-quarter, attributed to competitive pressure in a number of markets across the group. EBITDA for the period reached BHD35.1 million, a 1% decline from Q1 2015 but an increase of 13% from the previous quarter, and representing a margin of 39%. Net profit totalled BHD9.6 million in Q1 2016, falling 33% y-o-y mainly as a result of one-off items, but increasing by 12% q-o-q. Batelco noted that overseas operations contributed 60% of revenues and 55% of EBITDA.
In operational terms Batelco’s overall customer base fell 8% compared to Q1 2015, although its Maldives unit, Dhiraagu, posted y-o-y increases in mobile (up 10%) and broadband (17%) subscriptions, while Uminah (Jordan) recorded a 17% y-o-y rise in its mobile customer base, to reach 3.2 million subscribers. Batelco’s Sure division, operating in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man (CIM), saw user numbers continue to grow, with 3% and 4% y-o-y increases in mobile and broadband subscriptions, respectively. Sabafon, Batelco’s Yemen-based unit, saw subscriber numbers drop 25% compared to the year ago period, attributed to difficulties operating in an environment with increased political challenges. In its domestic division, Batelco reported a ‘slight decline’ in mobile subscriptions compared to Q1 2015, though its broadband base rose 8%, driven by the growing popularity of Batelco’s TV and other value added services (VAS).
Batelco Group Chairman, Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, was cited as saying: ‘We continue to operate in challenging markets but are encouraged by the strength of the group as a whole and we believe that by continuing to pool group resources, technologies and expertise we can enhance competitiveness and performance. We continue to work on restructuring programmes throughout the group with the aim of reducing operating costs and boosting efficiency and competitiveness as evidenced by the reduction in operating expenses … We remain committed to delivering innovation, smart solutions and value and are confident in our ability to strengthen our financial and operational performance throughout the rest of 2016.’