Etisalat, the UAE’s biggest telecoms operator, reported a 3 per cent rise in net profit last year underpinned by a growth in international operations as well as steady improvement in domestic operations, the company said.
Net profit attributable to equity holders in the 12 months ended December 31 rose to Dh9.3 billion ($2.5bn), compared with Dh9bn a year earlier, the company said in a statement on Monday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange as it announced its preliminary results.
Revenue of the operator jumped 3 per cent annually to Dh53.3bn during the period.
Earnings per share of the company rose 63.4 per cent to Dh1.07.
Etisalat, based in Abu Dhabi, was founded in 1976 and is the UAE's oldest telecoms company. It has operations in nearly 16 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, serving more than 156 million customers.
Total assets of the company fell about 4 per cent to Dh128.2bn last year and operating profit dropped 1.7 per cent to Dh12.8bn.
Etisalat is exploring the development of 6G, the next generation mobile network that will allow for much faster and more sophisticated technology use.
The telecoms operator is conducting research and developing international standards that will be the main building blocks to create a 6G network, the company said in June.
Last month, the company completed the acquisition of elGrocer, an online marketplace for groceries that operates across the Emirates.
The acquisition value will not exceed Dh38 million that includes up to Dh30m for the 100 per cent shares of elGrocer. Etisalat did not, however, disclose the exact transaction amount.
The purchase of elGrocer will complement Etisalat UAE’s existing marketplace services under the Smiles brand that includes online food delivery, lifestyle offers and the ability to earn and redeem points at more than 7,000 outlets across the country. Launched last year, the Smiles food delivery platform has nearly 2.7 million members.
The elGrocer transaction is the latest in a string of deals Etisalat has forged to boost its portfolio.
In August, Etisalat acquired an additional stake in Maroc Telecom Group, increasing its effective ownership from 48.4 per cent to 53 per cent.