Maroc Telecom 2016 revenue gets boost from Africa business but profit flat

Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s largest telecom operator, said on Monday its 2016 net profit attributable to shareholders was flat at 5.59 billion Moroccan dirhams while revenues were boosted by African subsidies.

Excluding restructuring expenses for a voluntary redundancy plan, 2016 earnings rose by 3.2 per cent from a year earlier to 5.77bn dirhams.

The company, controlled by UAE’s Etisalat Group, said consolidated revenue rose 3.3 per cent in 2016 from a year earlier to 35.25bn dirhams on domestic revenues and steady international growth.

Maroc Telecom chairman Abdeslam Ahizoune said in a statement the 2016 fiscal year “exceeded expectations.”

Mobile revenue in Morocco, its main source of income, dropped by 1.1 per cent though overall revenue in Morocco rose 1 per cent. Its customer base grew by 6.3 per cent to more than 54 million customers, largely due to a 10 per cent growth of its African subsidiaries’ customer base.

Revenue from Maroc Telecom’s international activities grew 9.4 per cent, where mobile growth grew by 75.2 per cent in Niger, 32.8 per cent in Ivory Coast, and 15 per cent in Togo.

Etisalat bought Vivendi’s 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom in 2013 for €4.2bn, and as part of the deal Maroc Telecom acquired six African assets from Etisalat.

* Reuters

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Tax authority targets shisha levy evasion

The Federal Tax Authority will track shisha imports with electronic markers to protect customers and ensure levies have been paid.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director of the tax authority, on Sunday said the move is to "prevent tax evasion and support the authority’s tax collection efforts".

The scheme’s first phase, which came into effect on 1st January, 2019, covers all types of imported and domestically produced and distributed cigarettes. As of May 1, importing any type of cigarettes without the digital marks will be prohibited.

He said the latest phase will see imported and locally produced shisha tobacco tracked by the final quarter of this year.

"The FTA also maintains ongoing communication with concerned companies, to help them adapt their systems to meet our requirements and coordinate between all parties involved," he said.

As with cigarettes, shisha was hit with a 100 per cent tax in October 2017, though manufacturers and cafes absorbed some of the costs to prevent prices doubling.

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