Oman telco Nawras extends profit slump

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Nawras, Oman's number two telecoms operator, posted a 13.4 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit, a fourth consecutive quarterly decline, as falling revenue from texts and on-network calls weighed on the bottom line.

Internet-based services such as instant messaging and Voice-Over-IP phone (VoIP) calls have hurt margins of Gulf telecoms companies as the region's large expatriate population has increasingly shifted away from conventional calls and texts to contact home.

Nawras, majority-owned by Qatar Telecom (Qtel), on Sunday reported a net profit of OMR10.3m (US$26.75m) for the three months to December 31, down from OMR11.9m in the year-earlier quarter.

Annual profit for 2012 fell 22.1 percent to OMR37m from the year before, it said in a statement. Full-year revenue dipped 1.7 percent to OMR193.5m.

The profit slump comes even while Nawras's customer base increased 11 percent to 2.2m.

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

For the fourth quarter, however, the company, which ended Oman Telecommunication Co's (Omantel) monopoly in 2005, reported revenue of OMR51.4m, compared with OMR50.8m a year ago.

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