Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), Saudi Arabia’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, has announced its financial results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2016, reporting a net loss of SAR202.9 million (USD54.1 million), an 81.4% improvement on the net loss of SAR1.093 billion reported in 2015. According to a press release on the Saudi Stock Exchange’s (Tadawul’s) website, the improvement was mainly attributed to decrease in general and administrative expenses by SAR1.432 billion (mainly due to booking a SAR800 million doubtful debt provision towards Zain Saudi Arabia in the previous period, among other significant cost reductions, certain savings and reversal of certain accruals) and a decrease in selling and marketing expenses by SAR169 million. In the period under review, group revenues decreased by 12.9% year-on-year to SAR12.569 billion, down from SAR14.424 billion reported in 2015, mainly due to the adverse impact of the country’s fingerprint (biometric) user registration process on revenues, lower interconnection revenues as a result of the reduction in mobile termination rates (MTRs) that took place in April 2016 and a decrease in handset sales. EBITDA for 2016 amounted to SAR4.009 billion, a 36.3% rise on an annualised basis, when compared to the SAR2.941 billion in 2015.
TeleGeography notes that in November 2016 Zain Saudi was ordered by an arbitration panel to pay SAR219.46 million to rival Mobily, with regards to receivables due under an agreement signed between the two companies on 6 May 2008. Mobily disclosed that by 30 November 2013, Zain owed it SAR2.2 billion for the provision of national roaming, site sharing, transmission links and international traffic; as the sides could not reach an amicable settlement, the matter was referred to an arbitration panel.