Batelco approves $84m dividends for 2013
Manama, March 4, 2014
Batelco Group, Bahrain's leading communications solutions provider, has approved cash dividends worth BD31.7 million ($84.1 million) and a 5 per cent bonus share issue for 2013.
This was announced at the group's annual general meeting (AGM) held at Hamala headquarters in the presence of shareholders, company directors, executive management, management and employees.
The group’s 33rd AGM saw shareholders approve the recommendation of the board of directors for a full year cash dividend of BD31.7 million at a value of 20 fils per share, of which 10 fils per share was already paid during the third quarter with the remaining 10 fils to be paid this month.
The meeting also saw shareholders approve the board’s recommendation for a 5 per cent bonus share issue, awarding one extra share for every 20 shares currently held by shareholders.
Batelco Group also appointed a new board of directors at the meeting. The members are Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa (Chairman), Abdul Razak Abdulla Al Qassim (Deputy Chairman), Abdulrahman Yusif Fakhro, Brigadier Khalid Mohammed Al Mannaei, Raed A. Fakhri, Oliver McFall, Ahmed Ebrahim Mohammed Al Balooshi, Arif Rahimi, Khulood Rashid Al Qattan and Ahmed A. Al Hujairy.
Speaking at the meeting, Batelco chairman Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said: "We are pleased to continue to build and return value to our shareholders as demonstrated by the dividend payment, bonus shares and the progress made throughout the past year in achieving growth and diversification of the Group."
The year 2013 was marked by strong cash generation and growing customer numbers across the group, mainly attributable to the inclusion of our new island portfolio businesses.
"The total subscriber base has grown to 9 million across the 14 geographies of the expanded operation, representing 18 per cent growth year on year. Diversification has been central to our strategy for a number of years and we are very pleased to see our investments deliver in line with our expectations," he noted.
“It is planned to build on the current momentum by pooling of group resources, technologies and expertise, to further enhance competitiveness and performance in all markets of operation. This includes reinforcing Batelco Bahrain’s market position at home, where Batelco retains the position of leading integrated communications provider,” stated Shaikh Hamad.
Supporting Shaikh Hamad at the meeting, Group CFO Faisal Qamhiyah provided highlights of Batelco’s financial and operational performance for 2013.
For 2013, the group’s gross revenues stood at BD370.6 million, posting an increase of 22 per cent year on year. However, the group's net profit fell to BD43.6 million, down 28 per cent year over year due to a number of one-off expenses including those associated with the CWC Islands Portfolio acquisition.
According to Qamhiyah, Ebitda for the year was BD120.7 million, representing a healthy margin of 33 per cent. The increase in Ebitda was attributed to the positive impact of Batelco Group’s overseas operations and improved performance in the home market.
In line with the group’s continued diversification, 54 per cent of revenues and 50 per cent of Ebitda are now generated from markets outside of Bahrain where the Group continues to focus on strengthening its performance and reach.
The Group ended the year with a strong balance sheet and financial position. As of 31 December 2013, net assets were BD593.1 million with substantial cash and bank balances of BD198.6 million and net debt of BD44 million.
Last November, Batelco had commenced a buyback of its $650 million seven-year Reg S bond offering, with BD14.9 million repurchased as of December 31, 2013. The bond buyback offers Batelco the opportunity to deploy excess liquidity in realizing interest savings and managing debt levels, said the official.-TradeArabia News Service