Global Operations Make Profits for Etisalat

Etisalat reported a flat quarterly profit yesterday as rising international revenues offset declines in its home market.

The Abu Dhabi-based telco, which has posted a falling profit in seven of the previous eight quarters, made a net profit of Dh1.81 billion in the three months to March 31, slightly down from Dh1.82 billion in the corresponding period in 2011.

Etisalat’s international gains helped first-quarter total revenue rise 2 per cent to Dh8.2 billion, offsetting a 2.6 per cent drop in domestic revenue to Dh6.09 billion.

“Operating profits declined by 5.3 per cent year-on-year to Dh1.6 billion due to rise in operating costs by 6.7 per cent year-on-year to Dh5 billion.

Etisalat said the number of its mobile phone subscribers in the UAE was 6.93 million at the end of first quarter. Fixed-line subscribers stood at 1.02 million, while internet subscribers were about 780,000.

Etisalat, formally known as Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, made a net profit of Dh5.8 billion in 2011, down from 7.6 billion in 2010, after booking an impairment of Dh1.02 billion because of cancelled licenses in India, as Gulf News stated.

Group revenues stood at Dh32.2 billion against 31.9 billion in the year-before period.

India’s Supreme Court recently ordered the government to revoke all 122 second generation (2G) licenses issued in a 2008 sale at the centre of a major corruption scandal.

Swan Telecom, which was later renamed etisalat DB after etisalat bought a stake in the firm, was one of eight companies that acquired the licenses at cut-price rates.