Telecoms operator misses analysts' forecasts as its Iraq business suffers amid continuing unrest
Qatari telecoms operator Ooredoo reported an 11 percent rise in third-quarter net profits on Monday, markedly lower than analysts' forecasts as its business in Iraq suffered from the violence there and some other foreign units also struggled.
The former monopoly, which operates in about a dozen countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a net profit of QR375 million ($103 million) in the three months to Sept. 30. That was up from QR337 million in the same period last year when it suffered foreign exchange losses of QR751 million.
Revenue in the quarter fell to QR8.34 billion from QR8.45 billion a year ago.
Three analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast the majority state-owned firm would make a third-quarter profit of QR801.96 million.
The company had posted declining profits in three of the previous four quarters.
Subsidiary Ooredoo Kuwait, which is 92-percent owned by Ooredoo, said earlier this month its third-quarter profit fell by nearly half, which was largely due to a weakening performance by its units in Kuwait, Tunisia and Algeria.
Ooredoo made a net profit of QR2.08 billion in the first nine months of 2014, up from QR2.07 billion in the same period last year.
But Iraqi unit Asiacell's revenue fell 10 percent to QR4.8 billion over the same period and its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) dropped 19 percent to QR2.27 billion.
"Growing levels of insecurity have impacted corporate and data revenue moderately," Ooredoo said in the statement, referring to Asiacell.
"Asiacell has continued to focus on a number of cost efficiencies during the period in the face of growing competition. Asiacell continues to monitor the situation carefully and has a range of contingency plans in place to ensure the continued operation of the business," it said.For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.