Etisalat Q4 profit rises 70pc to $394m
Dubai, March 4, 2014
Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates' biggest telecoms operator by revenue and subscribers, fell short of analysts' expectations with a 70 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit.
The former monopoly, which operates in about 15 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made net profit of 1.45 billion dirhams ($394.77 million) in the three months to December 31, according to Reuters calculations.
Analysts polled by Reuters gave a consensus forecast of fourth-quarter profit of 2.17 billion dirhams.
Etisalat's 2013 full-year net profit rose to 7.08 billion dirhams ($1.927 billion) from 6.74 billion dirhams a year earlier.
The result was hit by impairments charges of 1.37 billion dirhams. About half of the total related to loans to "related parties", the company said, without providing more details.
The company proposed a cash dividend of 0.35 dirhams per share for the second half of 2014.
Meanwhile, Etisalat expects to complete its 4.2 billion euros ($5.78 billion) purchase of a controlling stake in Maroc Telecom by the end of May, Serkan Okandan, Etisalat's chief financial officer, said.
In November, Etisalat agreed to buy Paris-listed Vivendi's 53 percent holding in Maroc Telecom for 3.9 billion euros, plus a further 300 million euros in 2012 dividends from the Moroccan firm.
Maroc Telecom has operations in Gabon, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Mali.
"It depends on regulatory approvals from the different countries where Maroc Telecom is operating. Based on our current estimation it will be before the end of May," Okandan told Reuters by telephone, when asked when he expected the deal would be completed.
"We expect to get all the approvals before the end of May and depending on that we are expecting to close that transaction."- Reuters