Etisalat green lights dividend payout

Markets Update: Etisalat has said it will pay a dividend of 60 fils per share for its 2011 performance.

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Etisalat has officially agreed to pay a dividend of 60 fils per share based on its financial results from a turbulent year.

The company's General Assembly yesterday rubber-stamped the payout - the same level as 2010s - proposed in February on the back of 2011 financial results which disappointed some shareholders.

Etisalat's net profit fell by 24 per cent last year to Dh5.8 billion (US$1.57bn) because of write-downs related to company's troubled affiliate in India.

The company cited the Supreme Court of India's decision to cancel 122 licenses, including that of Indian subsidiary Etisalat DB (India), as the main reason for the profit drop, taking a Dh1bn bite out of net profits.

This morning trading was muted, with Etisilat shares dipping slightly, 0.3 per cent down to Dh.9.3 on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) General Index.

The General Assembly also announced it had elected four new members from the private sector as follows:- Khalaf bin Ahmed Al Otaiba, Shaikh Ahmed Mohammed bin Sultan Srour Al Dhaheri, Abdul Munim bin Eisa bin Nassir Al Serkal and Mana Mohammed Saeed Al Mulla.

Mohammed Hassan Omran, Etisalat chairman, said: "If we set aside the drop of value in the Indian operation, we see that the corporation has maintained good profitability despite challenges that are being witnessed by business sectors across the globe and particularly in the Arab region.

"Etisalat investments in national broadband network infrastructure have spurred combined revenues growing by 20 per cent in data and internet segments reaching Dh 8bn contributing to 34 per cent of total UAE revenue.

"These results support our long term investment strategy of diversifying revenues and driving greater efficiencies from our international operations, while enhancing network capacity for the increasing demand for data usage."