Oman's Nawras posts 47% drop in Q3 net profit

Country's No 2 telecom operator blames slump on falling text revenue, rising costs
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Reuters
Sun 21 Oct 2012 05:28 PM

Oman's No.2 telecom operator, Nawras, reported a 47 percent fall in third-quarter profit on Sunday, blaming the slump on falling text revenue and higher network maintenance costs.

The firm, majority-owned by Qatar Telecom (Qtel), made a net profit of OR7.2m ($18.70m) in the three months to September 30, down from OR13.48m in the year-earlier period, according to a statement to the Oman bourse.

Nawras, which ended Oman Telecommunication Co's (Omantel) monopoly in 2005, also reported declining profits in the previous two quarters.

Third-quarter revenue was OR46.9m. This compares with OR49.2m a year ago.

"The decline in revenue is primarily driven by a reduction in SMS (text) revenue, partially offset by growth in both mobile and fixed data as well as international voice revenues," Nawras said.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for the nine months to Sept. 30 fell 10 percent to OR69m.

"EBITDA for the year has been affected by lower gross margin and higher operating expenses," Nawras said. "Higher operating expenses are mainly due to higher network maintenance cost."

The operator had 2.13 million mobile and fixed customers at September-end, up 9.3 percent from a year ago.

Oman is the only Gulf country to have issued mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences. Omantel hosts MVNOs Friendi and Renna, which have helped it win back customers from Nawras.

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