Sunday 16 December 2018

Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa and Ihab Hinnawi

Batelco 2017 revenues up 3pc to $380m

MANAMA, February 22, 2018

Bahrain-based Batelco, a regional telecom group with operations across 14 countries, has posted revenues of BD379.4 million ($1,006.4 million) for the full year 2017, as compared to BD367.1 million ($973.7 million) in 2016 marking a 3 per cent rise.

Organic gross revenue, which grew for the first time since 2009, was boosted by double-digit growth in broadband and digital services, reporting 16 per cent and 13 per cent growth respectively. Quarter on quarter gross revenues also reported an 8 per cent increase compared to 2016 of BD101.9 million ($270.3 million) in Q4 2017 compared to BD94.1 million ($249.6 million) in Q4 2016.

Group operating profit grew by 2 per cent notwithstanding voluntary employee retirement costs of BD8.1 million ($21.5 million) incurred in Batelco Bahrain. Adjusted net profit, excluding impairments and one-off gain on land, was more than BD40.0 million ($106.1 million).The Group’s balance sheet remains robust, with cash in hand of BD158.7 million ($421.0 million).

The Board of Directors has recommended a full year cash dividend of BD41.6 million ($110.3 million), at a value of 25 fils per share to be agreed at the Group’s Annual General Meeting, of which 10 fils per share was already paid during the third quarter of 2017 with the remaining 15 fils to be paid following the AGM in March 2018. The dividend is consistent with previous years and is an example of Batelco’s commitment to its shareholders.

Batelco’s chairman Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, said: “We continue to progress well in order to execute our strategic plan. The business is in great shape, with strong fundamentals, a solid subscriber base and a local market that is outperforming. However, some of our international businesses continue to feel the impact of the political and economic instability across the region and we are providing them with all the support necessary to get them through this difficult period.

“Overall, I am pleased to see that our hard work is paying off. We have maintained a robust cash position and we will pay our shareholders a dividend this year consistent with prior year payouts. I am highly optimistic for the future of Batelco Group as we continue into 2018. We have a sound strategy, an accomplished executive team and a pipeline of products and services to support us in our path forward. As we look ahead, our goal is to build on this recent success and continue to be a national champion for Bahrain.”

The Group’s net profits have previously been impacted by the reduction in the carrying value of its international investments and goodwill; whereas management and the Board of Directors prudently and promptly took the necessary impairments to reflect the fair value of these investments.

Batelco Group CEO Ihab Hinnawi said: “2017 saw Batelco Group perform well despite a challenging regional operating environment, as demonstrated through our strong financial performance and transformational programmes, which saw a 3 per cent increase in revenues from the previous year. The growth from the past year was mainly driven by our operations in Bahrain, Jordan and the Maldives, and through our diversified revenue streams – primarily digital and broadband services.”

“While we reported a decline in net profit, this was primarily due to the prudent and conservative strategy of our management team to impair certain assets in Yemen and Jordan, and is not a reflection of the overall health of Batelco. We believe the Group is fundamentally in great shape and we expect net profits in the range of BD40 – 45 million in 2018.”

Batelco Bahrain CEO Mohamed Bubashait said that Bahrain remains one of Batelco’s most robust markets, reporting a 3 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue for 2017, boosted by the growing success of fixed broadband and digital services. Batelco’s domestic growth in broadband services was driven by heavy investment in its Fibre Rollout Programme to accommodate the demand for faster internet services, which contributed to a 32 per cent YoY increase in broadband subscribers.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to invest in Bahrain’s digital future and to contribute to the Kingdom’s social and economic growth, specifically through investing in world class datacenter services, fintech solutions and new technologies. All of this supports the Kingdom’s transition to a digital and diversified economy,” Bubashait added.

Shaikh Mohamed said: “Looking ahead, we are planning to expand our business scope, scale and performance to enhance customer value as much as we can. Our core focus areas are digital services, fixed and mobile data, and multi-play offerings.”

“We are confident in our future guidance, and believe we have a solid strategy in place to help achieve our target revenue and net profit for the full year 2018,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Batelco | 2017 revenue |

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