Qatar-based multinational Ooredoo Group posted a 22% year-on-year increase in net profit to QAR841 million (USD227 million) in the first six months of 2019, helped by a favourable foreign exchange environment, partly offset by a negative impact on the bottom line from new IFRS16 accounting standards. Conversely, IFRS16 had a positive effect on group 1H19 EBITDA, which improved by 2% to QAR6.3 billion. Consolidated revenue declined by 4% to QAR14.5 billion in January-June 2019, which the group attributed to ‘an industry-wide shift from voice services to data services, as well as macroeconomic and currency weakness in some markets’. Ooredoo also reported that data revenues increased to QAR7.5 billion to account for 52% of its total revenue in the first half of the year, with increased monetisation of data services and significant data growth coming from both consumer and enterprise customers. Ooredoo’s consolidated customer base increased sequentially by 2.7 million to 115 million at 30 June 2019 mainly driven by Indonesian mobile subsidiary Indosat Ooredoo turning around its recent user base decline.
Ooredoo Group CEO Sheikh Saud bin Nasser al-Thani said: ‘During the period we invested further into our networks while at the same time improving the profitability of the company. Indosat Ooredoo, our second biggest market in terms of contribution to revenues, continues to turn around its business delivering robust growth across the board. This was underpinned by our strategic refresh designed to create a more loyal customer base with lower churn rates, following the implementation of regulation for SIM card registration. As a result Indosat Ooredoo reversed the trend and started to add new customers again.’ The CEO also highlighted: ‘In Myanmar our customer base surged 19% despite increased competition from a fourth telecommunications operator. In Kuwait, we launched 5G and we substantially grew our EBITDA supported by careful execution of our cost optimisation initiatives and enhanced operational efficiency. In Algeria, our data traffic more than doubled year on year, as we extended our 4G coverage to 58% of the population.’
Ooredoo Qatar reported a drop in revenue to QAR3.7 billion in H1 2019 (1H18: QAR3.9 billion) driven by a fall in handset sales, although Qatari EBITDA increased to QAR2.1 billion in the six-month period (1H18: QAR2.0 billion). The customer base in Qatar was ‘stable’ at 3.3 million at mid-2019, whilst the operator noted that it now has 100 ‘live’ 5G sites in the country.