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Tue 1 Mar 2011 09:54 PM

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Qtel Q4 net profit down 5% on provisions

Net profit down to $124m as subsidiary writedowns take toll on revenues

Qtel Q4 net profit down 5% on provisions
Qtel reported a fourth-quarter net profit of QR451.9m

Qatar Telecommunications Co (Qtel) posted a 5.2 percent drop
in fourth-quarter net profit on Tuesday on increased provisions taken by some
of its subsidiaries, trailing average forecasts.

The company reported a fourth-quarter net profit of QR451.9m
($124m), down from QR476.5m in the year-earlier period.

Full-year profit stood at of QR2.9bn, up 2.2 percent from
the previous year, a statement said.

The board recommended a cash dividend of QR5 per share and a
20 percent bonus share distribution, the statement said.

A Qtel spokesman said that the drop in quarterly profit was
due to provisions taken by some subsidiaries, but declined to specify which.

Qtel, which operates in 17 countries, has expanded rapidly
abroad to mitigate the loss of its monopoly after Vodafone Qatar, a unit of
Britain's Vodafone, entered the Gulf Arab state's market.

The company benefited from foreign exchange movements in
Indonesia, and saw greater-than-expected growth in Iraq, he said.

Qtel does not expect to be heavily affected by regional
strife in the Middle East, the spokesman said.

"This is a temporary phase, things will settle down.
The telecom business is one that tends to thrive even in uncertain times. We've
only seen some sporadic incidents here and there."

Qtel's $1.5bn bond sale in October attracted subscriptions
exceeding $15bn. The company launched a $500m six-year bond and a $1bn 10-year
bond priced at 3.375 percent and 4.75 percent respectively.

It later launched a $1.25bn two-part debt issuance.

Qtel's focus has been on acquisitions in the Middle East and
North Africa region, the Indian subcontinent as well as south east Asia.

Qtel in 2008 bought a 40.8 percent stake in Indosat,
Indonesia's second-biggest mobile telephone company, later raising its holding
to 65 percent in a bid to tap growth potential in the world's most populous
Muslim country.

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