Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) has announced its results for the six months ending 30 June 2016, posting gross revenues of BHD182.9 million (USD481.6 million), down 2% year-on-year. The group attributed the drop to competitive pressures in the key markets, though noted that overseas operations amounted to 59% or revenues and 57% of EBITDA, in line with the corresponding year-ago period (59% and 56%, respectively). EBITDA for the six-month period reached BHD71.3 million, representing a margin of 39% and a 2% increase compared to one year earlier, with the group having been able to continue its successful cost containment programmes, resulting in a 5% reduction in expenditure year-on-year. Net profit fell 18% against H1 2015, to BHD22.7 million, impacted by one-off items and BHD900,000 loss from the group’s investment in its Sabafon (Yemen) subsidiary, of which it owns 26.94%.
Operationally, mobile subscriptions grew in Batelco’s Uminah unit (up 19% y-o-y), as they did in South Atlantic and Diego Garcia (up 64% and 24%, respectively). The biggest loss was recorded in Yemen, where subscriber numbers declined 16% due to difficulties in the operating environment coupled with increased political challenges. In the operator’s domestic market, mobile connections showed ‘a slight decline’ y-o-y, while broadband services reported a 12% increase and fixed line accesses grew by 5%.
Batelco Chairman Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa commented: ‘We continue to operate smartly through synergising group efforts. Accordingly, our operations outside of Bahrain continue to generate over half of our revenues and EBITDA … Among the key services under the spotlight at the moment are digital solutions. Batelco continues to invest in relevant platforms as part of its drive to become a recognised integrator of digital solutions in Bahrain and also in a number of our overseas operations.’