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Wed 16 Jun 2010 12:36 PM

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Mobily may spend $670m this year on expansion plans

'Revenue will be the same as what we did the previous year' - CEO.

Mobily may spend $670m this year on expansion plans
BIG SPEND: Mobily’s capital expenditure in the past five years was about SR12.6bn, according to the company.(Getty Images)

Etihad Etisalat Co, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest mobile-phone company, also known as Mobily, may spend more than SR2.5bn ($670m) this year in an effort to capture market share and expand.

“We put on the ground 2 to 3 billion riyals annually” over the last five years, Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al Kaf said in an interview today. Capital expenditure as a percentage of “revenue will be the same as what we did the previous year. In an absolute value, it will be a little bit higher.”

Mobily is competing with Saudi Telecom Co and Zain Saudi Arabia for mobile-phone and Internet customers through advertising campaigns and pricing promotions in the Arab world’s largest economy. The number of mobile phone subscribers in the kingdom increased by 1.2 million to 46 million in the first quarter of this year, the Communication and Information Technology Commission said yesterday.

Mobily’s capital expenditure in the past five years was about SR12.6bn, according to the company.

The telecommunications provider, 27 percent owned by Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Telecom Corp., isn’t looking for any new financing this year or planning any acquisitions “at the moment,” al-Kaf said. “Mobily is well structured as a telecoms service provider.”

As part of its expansion, Mobily got a 1.5 billion-riyal loan to buy Bayanat Al Oula for Network Services in 2008. In October, it rescheduled the loan and also secured a 900 million- riyal loan from Saudi British Bank to expand the unit’s wireless network in the kingdom.

The company aims to be the biggest Saudi telecommunications provider “in every single sector,” Al Kaf said. “That will take a lot of effort and work.”

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