Etisalat Group, the UAE's biggest telecom operator, said revenues and net profit increased in the third quarter of 2021, prompting the Abu Dhabi-based company to improve its full-year guidance across all financial indicators.
Consolidated revenue in the three-month period to the end of September rose 2 per cent to Dh13.3 billion ($3.6bn) and consolidated net profit after federal royalty increased 1 per cent to Dh2.4bn year-on-year, it said in regulatory filing to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, where its shares are traded. The company's UAE subscriber base reached 12 million, while aggregate subscribers improved 4 per cent to hit 155.4 million.
For the first nine months of 2021, revenue rose 2.8 per cent to Dh39.73bn ($10.8bn), while profit increased 2.9 per cent to Dh7.18bn ($1.95bn).
"Etisalat Group continued to deliver a steady growth in the third quarter of 2021, demonstrating agility as we address the growing and ever-changing customer needs and market dynamics across our operations. We remain focused on achieving key strategic priorities that would enable a smarter digital tomorrow while opening new opportunities to engage with business and customers alike," Hatem Dowidar, Etisalat group chief executive, said in a statement.
Etisalat's performance was supported by its continued investments in next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics, as well as on its proactive response to rapidly-changing user behaviour and market dynamics.
Earlier in 2021, the company was named the world’s fastest mobile network for the second consecutive year by web metrics provider Ookla.
"We look at the future confidently with a positive outlook for our operations despite the various global macro-economic factors that are reshaping the business environment across our footprint," Mr Dowidar said. "We will continue to channel our efforts towards enabling private and public sectors digital transformation journeys while equipping our operations with the next generation of technologies."
Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in the third quarter were Dh6.7bn, resulting in an Ebitda margin of 51 per cent.
For the first nine months of 2021, earnings per share amounted to Dh0.83, a year-on-year increase of Dh0.03.
In July, Etisalat's board of directors announced the first interim dividend for 2021 at the rate of Dh0.40 per share. For 2020, it approved a record Dh1.20 per share.
Last month, Etisalat signed a binding agreement with Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence services provider G42 to merge their data centre services and create the UAE's largest data centre provider.
In August, Etisalat acquired an additional stake in Maroc Telecom Group, increasing its effective ownership from 48.4 per cent to 53 per cent.
In January, Etisalat, along with Dubai's Emirates Intergrated Telecommunications Company, increased its foreign ownership caps to 49 per cent in a bid to attract more external investors.
It also announced at this year's Mobile World Congress that it was developing plans for a 6G network.