Etisalat’s 2019 net profit flat as revenue falls

The UAE’s biggest telco posted a net profit of Dh8.69bn last year

Etisalat, the UAE's biggest telecom operator, reported flat full-year net profit in 2019 due to a dip in revenues from international operations and mobile earnings in the UAE.

Net profit attributable to equity holders in the 12 months ended December 31 rose 0.90 per cent year-on-year to Dh8.69 billion only 78 million more from a year earlier, it said in a statement on Wednesday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares trade.

Revenue during the period decreased 0.38 per cent to Dh52.19bn. The company's earnings per share grew slightly to Dh1 in 2019 from Dh0.99 a year earlier.

The company did not disclose its fourth quarter results.

The dip in earnings is “mainly attributable to the decrease in revenues of the international operations due to currency fluctuations and decrease in the mobile revenues of UAE operations,” the telco said.

The company’s audited financials will be disclosed after it secures an approval from the board of directors following their meeting on February 18.

Etisalat, which had a monopoly in the UAE until du entered the market in 2007, owns and operates subsidiaries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. However, it exited from its Nigerian operations in 2017.

The telco also owns a 28 per cent stake in Saudi telecoms company Etihad Etisalat (Mobily).

In May, last year, it became the first service provider in the region to offer a 5G network, supporting smartphones for commercial use. Soon after, the country's second telecoms operator Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, also known as du, and Bahrain's Batelco followed suit.

Etisalat, which is constructing 1,000 5G towers in the country, has teamed up with Chinese tech giant Huawei to roll out 5G across the emirates.

A 5G network promises internet speed of up to 1.2 gigabits per second, which will gradually evolve to reach 10Gbps — more than 100 times faster than 4G.

On Tuesday, EITC reported a 1.3 per cent decline in the full-year net profit to Dh1.73bn in 2019. The company’s revenue fell 6.2 per cent to reach Dh12.58bn during the period.