Qatar telco Ooredoo Q1 net profit rises 13.6%

The former monopoly made a net profit of $222 million in the three months to March 31

Qatar telecoms group Ooredoo reported a 13.6 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, as increased revenue from Qatar, Iraq and Indonesia offset a sustained profit slump at its Kuwait and Oman units.

The former monopoly, which operates in about 16 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a net profit of 808 million riyals ($222 million) in the three months to March 31, up from 711 million in the year-earlier period.

Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast Ooredoo would make a quarterly profit of between 712 million riyals and 1.04 billion.

The net profit increase comes despite earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) falling 3.1 percent to 3.72 billion riyals.

The company did not provide a country-by-country profit breakdown, although Kuwait's Wataniya and Oman's Nawras - both Ooredoo subsidiaries - had reported shrinking first-quarter profits earlier this month. Each have posted profit declines for five straight quarters.

EBITDA from Indonesia rose 5.4 percent to 1 billion riyals, but EBITDA from Iraq and Qatar fell despite rising revenue. It was unclear how Ooredoo was able to achieve its first-quarter profit rise overall.

Ooredoo's revenue reached 8.44 billion riyals compared with 8.03 billion a year ago.

Ooredoo has spent about $3.9 billion in the past year upping its stakes in some foreign units, taking majority control of Iraq's Asiacell, while it now owns 90 percent or more of Wataniya and Tunisia's Tunisiana.

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