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Tue 24 Apr 2012 06:23 PM

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Oman's Nawras posts 19.1% fall in Q1 net profit

Telecom operator says declining text income hits bottom line in the first quarter

Oman's Nawras posts 19.1% fall in Q1 net profit
Arab mobile phone, telcos, telecommunications generic

Oman telecoms operator Nawras on Tuesday reported a 19.1 percent fall in first-quarter net profit as a rise in mobile subscribers was offset by declining text income.

Nawras, majority-owned by Qatar Telecom (Qtel), made a profit of OR9.8m ($25.5m) in the three months to March 31, down from OR12.1m in the year-earlier period, it said in an emailed statement.

Quarterly revenue was OR46.8m, down 2.7 percent from a year ago.

Nawras said this drop was "due to a reduction in SMS (text) revenues which was not fully compensated by growth in data revenue", adding it made a one-off accounting gain of 658,000 rials in the first-quarter of 2012.

The drop in profit and revenue come despite its mobile subscriber base rising 2.4 percent to 1.99 million. This suggests its margins have fallen, with Nawras one of the few Gulf operators to offer low-cost voice-over-IP (VoIP) internet-based calls.

Nawras's shares fell 0.2 percent before it announced its results, ending at a new all-time low of 0.59 rials. It listed on the Oman bourse in November 2010 after pricing an initial public offering at 0.702 rials per share

Nawras and rival operator Oman Telecommunications Co are in talks with the Gulf Arab state's regulator to be assigned coveted lower-frequency spectrum to aid rising demand for mobile data.

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