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Tue 28 Jan 2014 05:50 PM

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Bahrain's Batelco sees 61% slump in Q4 net profit

Telecoms operator says one-off expenses outweigh 29% rise in revenues in fourth quarter

Bahrain's Batelco sees 61% slump in Q4 net profit
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) posted a 61 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit on Tuesday as one-off expenses outweighed a 29 percent rise in revenue.

The former monopoly, which had reported declining profits in 15 of the previous 17 quarters, made a net profit of BD6.9 million ($18.30 million) in the three months to December 31, down from BD17.8 million in the year-earlier period, Reuters calculated from past financial statements.

One analyst polled by Reuters forecast Batelco's quarterly profit would be BD14.1 million.

Former chief executive Sheikh Mohamed bin Isa al-Khalifa quit in May and company veteran Peter Kaliaropoulos - who previously was CEO and held other senior positions - left in June. A committee of three board members now runs the company.

Bahrain is arguably the Gulf's most competitive telecom market, with three mobile operators and about 10 internet providers vying for business among its 1.3 million people.

Declining domestic income pushed Batelco to expand abroad and in April it completed the $570 million purchase of Cable & Wireless Communications' Monaco and Islands Division, although some of this deal subsequently fell foul of regulators.

Batelco made a full-year profit of BD43.6 million, down from BD60.3 million in the corresponding period of 2012, it said in an emailed statement.

The company blamed the profit slump "on a number of one-off expenses including those associated with the Islands Portfolio acquisition", but did not provide further details.

Annual revenue rose 21.6 percent to BD370.6 million, while its fourth-quarter revenue of BD99.4 million was 29 percent higher than for the same period of 2012, Reuters calculations show.

Batelco has proposed a full-year dividend of 20 fils per share, plus a 5 percent bonus share issue.

Batelco also owns Jordanian telecoms operator Umniah, 27 percent of Yemeni mobile operatorSabafon, minority stakes in internet providers in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

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