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Mon 8 Aug 2011 05:13 PM

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Omantel beats estimates to post flat Q2 net profit

Telco's expenses rise on back of new hires, improvement in employee benefits

Omantel beats estimates to post flat Q2 net profit
A visitor takes pictures with his mobile phone as he stands next to an artwork to be auctioned off by Sothebys at Arts of the Islamic World during a preview exhibition at a hotel in Doha

Oman Telecommunications Co's (Omantel) second-quarter net profit was unchanged from a year-ago as expenses rose on the back of new recruitments and an improvement in employee benefits, a statement showed on Monday.

The national telecoms provider made a net profit of OR29m ($75.32m) for the three months ended June 30, compared with OR28.6m a year-ago, it said in a statement on Monday.

The results however beat an average of analysts polled by Reuters which forecast second-quarter net profit of OR24.5m.

Net profit for the first half was OR55m against OR61m for the same period in 2010.

Total expenses rose by 9.4 percent to OR164m from OR149.9 for the first half of the year, the company said.

"Successful employment of 200 new employees approved by Board of Directors in response to the Royal Directives and the improvement of employee benefits were the second major driver of the increase in expenses," the statement said.

Omantel's monopoly in the Gulf Arab state was broken by Nawras , a unit of Qatar Telecommunications Co, and the company faces increasing competition from mobile virtual network operators.

Since then, about half a dozen companies are have been granted licenses to operate mobile virtual networks. The government owns 70 percent of Omantel.

Omantel shares rose 0.5 percent on the Muscat bourse Monday. They have lost about 19 percent of their value year-to-date.



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