Etisalat, the UAE’s biggest telecoms operator, reported a 3.8 per cent rise in net profit last year despite a marginal decline in revenue.
Net profit attributable to equity holders in the 12 months ended December 31 rose to Dh9.03 billion, compared with Dh8.69bn a year earlier, the company said in a statement on Sunday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange as it announced its preliminary results.
Revenue declined by 0.9 per cent to Dh51.7bn during the period.
“This is mainly attributable to [the] Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in a temporary lockdown, restricted mobility and [a] travel ban, resulting in reduced activities in most of our markets that negatively [affected] revenue,” Etisalat said.
Audited financial statements for entire year and the fourth quarter of 2020 will be disclosed next Monday.
Etisalat, which had a monopoly until the UAE’s second telecoms operator du entered the market in 2007, said operating profit increased by 10.3 per cent annually to more than Dh13bn last year.
The company’s earnings per share grew slightly to Dh1.04 last year, compared with Dh1 a year earlier.
Last month, Etisalat increased its foreign ownership limit from 20 per cent to 49 per cent to attract more external investors.
The telecoms operator, which was established more than four decades ago and has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, has 149 million subscribers in 16 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Sixty per cent of the company is owned by the Emirates Investment Authority while the remainder is floated on the ADX.
Etisalat appointed Hatem Dowidar as group chief executive in December to replace Saleh Al Abdooli, who stepped down for personal reasons.
Mr Dowidar had been serving as acting chief executive since May and was previously head of the company’s international business.
Last week, du reported a 16.7 per cent drop in full-year net profit to Dh1.4bn. Its total revenue for the year declined by about 11 per cent to Dh11.1bn.