Bahrain's Batelco posts 8% rise in Q1 net profit

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(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) posted an 8 percent rise in first-quarter profit on Wednesday.

The former monopoly, which had reported declining profits in 16 of the previous 18 quarters and went nearly a year without a permanent chief executive, made a net profit of BD14.5 million ($38.46 million) in the three months to March 31, up from BD13.4 million in the year-earlier period.

One analyst polled by Reuters forecast Batelco's quarterly profit would be BD12.4 million.

Batelco said its profit rise was due "to the ongoing positive impact of the Batelco's overseas operations as well as pleasing performance in the home market".

The company's first-quarter revenue was 97.6 million dinars - up from BD71 million a year ago - with 57 percent of its quarterly income from foreign operations.

Batelco, seeking to offset declining domestic profit and revenue, in April 2013 completed the $570 million purchase of Cable & Wireless Communications' Monaco and Islands Division, although some of this deal subsequently fell foul of regulators.

Batelco's subscriber base rose 19 percent year-on-year to 9.1 million at March-end. Of these, 905,000 were mobile subscribers in Bahrain, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

Its other investments include 96 percent of Jordan's Umniah, 27 percent of Yemen's Sabafon and a majority stake in a Kuwaiti fixed internet provider.

In April, Batelco hired Alan Whelan as chief executive, nearly 11 months after former CEO Sheikh Mohamed bin Isa al-Khalifa quit. The company was run by a committee of three board members until Whelan's appointment.

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