Profits at Etisalat, the country's largest telecom operator, improved in the third quarter due to lower losses from discontinued operations, even as revenue across its footprint was flat.
Net income for the telco rose 29 per cent year-on-year to Dh2.4 billion for the three months to the end of September, coming in ahead of a Dh2.1bn prediction made by EFG-Hermes.
The rise in profits came in spite of group revenues that slipped 3 per cent year-on-year to Dh12.9bn, in line with analyst forecasts.
A 3 per cent rise in UAE revenues helped to offset falling international revenues, impacted by tough compeitiion in Morocco and Pakistan, and last year’s sharp fall in the value of the Egyptian pound.
Losses from “discontinued operations” decreased 81 per cent to Dh68.5 million for the period, significantly raising the company’s net income figure.
The discontinued operations likely refer to Etisalat Nigeria, its business in the West African country. Etisalat and Mubadala Investment Company, which cumulatively owned 85 per cent in the operation, exited the company in June, after failed talks with lenders over the restructuring of a US$1.2bn loan.
“Etisalat continues to deliver solid performance in the third quarter, despite the prevailing global economic challenges and the vastly transforming
industry,” said Etisalat’s group chief executive Saleh Al
Subscribers across Etisalat’s footprint stood at 140 million at the end of September, following the exclusion of Nigerian users.
The operator’s subscriber base in the UAE grew by 2 per cent to 12.5 million at the end of the quarter, driven by 6 per cent growth in the eLife segment.