Kuwait's Wataniya posts 31% slump in Q1 net profit

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Wataniya, Kuwait's second-biggest telecommunications operator, reported a 31 percent fall in first-quarter profit on Wednesday, in line with analysts' estimates.

The firm, a subsidiary of Ooredoo (Qatar Telecom), had reported declining profits in the preceding five quarters, and in March it appointed Abdulaziz Fakhroo as chief executive, its third CEO in less than a year.

Wataniya made a net profit of KD19.5m ($68.4m) in the three months to March 31, down from KD28.3m in the year-earlier period, a filing to the Kuwaiti stock exchange said.

It did not give a reason for the fall but the company has been facing tougher competition at home and foreign exchange losses which have overshadowed a rising customer base. Full-year net profit in 2012 fell 22 percent from a year earlier.

Two analysts polled by Reuters had forecast Wataniya would make a quarterly profit of between KD18.8-20m in the first three months of the year.

Earnings per share were 38.86 fils compared to 56.49 fils a year ago, the filing said. There are 1,000 fils to the dinar.

In Kuwait, Wataniya competes with Zain and Viva, an affiliate of Saudi Telecom Co, while it also has operations in Algeria, Tunisia, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Territories.

In October, Qtel paid $1.8bn to raise its stake in Wataniya to 92.1 percent from 52.5 percent.

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National Mobile Telecommunications Company - Kuwait
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