Saudi's Mobily posts 21% rise in Q1 net profit

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(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) on Monday reported a 21 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, just short of analysts' estimates, citing improved revenue from voice services and business customers.

Mobily, an affiliate of the UAE's Etisalat , made a profit of SR1.207bn in the three months to March 31, up from SR998m in the year-earlier period, the company said in a statement on the bourse website.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Mobily would make a quarterly profit of SR1.3bn.

"The increase in revenue is attributable to the higher revenue from voice services with the increase in the number of minutes of use, the continued increase in the number of post-paid subscribers and the increase in business sector revenue," said the statement.

It said gross profit was SR2.613bn compared to SR2.289bn in the first months of 2011.

In January the company's chief executive Khaled al-Kaf said the company would sustain double-digit profit growth in coming years thanks to rising mobile contracts and data revenue.

Mobile penetration in Saudi Arabia is among the highest in the world, with nearly two phones per person.

Mobily in February signed a SR10bn ($2.67bn) sharia-compliant loan refinancing with a group of seven local banks to increase revenues and invest in its broadband and data services business.

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