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Wed 12 Jul 2006 04:00 AM

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Etisalat 1H06 profits up 33%

At a time when it is expanding its international footprint extensively, the operator has announced first half profits of US$765 million, up a third on 2006's figure.

UAE operator Etisalat has announced its first half profits, reporting net profits of US$765 million, a 33% jump from the same period in 2005.

Etisalat, which aims to be one of the top 20 operators in the world by 2010, now serves over 4.995 million mobile customers in the UAE, representing a penetration in the country of over 100%. Fixed line subscribers now number 1.266 million and internet connections reach 578,000.

The operator’s board of directors also declared an interim dividend of 25% on the par value of each share. Distribution of dividends will commence from July 26 and will be paid to all shareholders who are registered by July 18. According to Etisalat CEO Mohammed Al Qamzi, the operator is looking to forge deeper relationships with its stakeholders. “We have achieved the remarkable result. We are happy to reward the trust placed in us by our shareholders with the declared dividends.”

The announcement comes at a time when Etisalat is expanding its international presence significantly. Earlier this month it won the bidding for the third mobile licence in Egypt with a US$2.9 billion offer, beating the likes of MTC, Telenor and Wataniya in the process. Etisalat also recently won a licence to operate in Afghanistan and has announced it intentions to bid for a 35% stake in Algerie Telecom.

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