Bahrain-based Batelco has announced its group second-quarter and first-half results for operations across 14 countries, posting a net profit of BHD19.0 million (USD50.4 million) in the six months to the end of June 2017, 16% lower than in H1 2016. Consolidated six-month gross revenues of BHD181.1 million (USD480.4 million) in January-June 2017 were down by 1% compared to the same period in 2016. Mobile revenues accounted for over half of total turnover in 1H17, BHD95.09 million, down marginally from BHD95.11 million a year earlier. EBITDA was BHD64.0 million, down by 12% year-on-year, attributed largely to increased operating expenses and costs of network enhancements. Batelco chairman Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa commented that the group’s financial results continue to reflect ‘a lengthy period of harsh competitive pressure’ in Bahrain and several of its other geographical markets. In 1H17 Bahrain accounted for 59% of group revenues (unchanged y-o-y) and 52% of EBITDA (compared to 57% in 1H16). Umniah (Jordan) was the second largest revenue contributor in 1H17 (21%, up from 20% in 1H16).
Overall group subscriber numbers were up 4% y-o-y and 3% q-o-q at end-June 2017. The company highlighted that Bahraini broadband subscribers rose by 34% y-o-y and by 8% compared to Q1 2017, reflecting fibre take-up, whilst mobile subscribers in Bahrain fell by 11% y-o-y, despite climbing 10% q-o-q. Subsidiary Dhiraagu (Maldives) saw mobile and broadband subscribers rise by 16% y-o-y. The Sure Group division also saw fixed line voice and broadband customers rise by 11% and 6% respectively y-o-y in its markets including the British Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
Batelco also announced this week that it has ‘doubled’ the number of locations covered by its ‘4G+’ branded LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network across Bahrain ‘in the past year’, having begun the 4G+ rollout in Q2 2016. Batelco Bahrain CEO Muna Al Hashemi said: ‘We are very pleased with the success of the rollout with the number of locations covered growing continuously,’ while adding that the 4G+ rollout is meeting ever-rising customer demand for high speed, reliable mobile data services.