Saudi's Mobily swings to quarterly profit, trims annual loss

Telecom operator has had to cut 27 months of previously reported earnings by nearly $1bn
Saudi's Mobily swings to quarterly profit, trims annual loss
By Reuters
Thu 21 Jan 2016 08:31 PM

Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), which had to cut 27 months of previously reported earnings by nearly $1 billion, swung to a fourth-quarter profit that trimmed its annual, it said on Thursday, citing improved margins.

Mobily's shares have fallen 74 percent since November 2014 when the mobile operator made the first in a series of earnings restatements after accounting errors.

The debacle led to the departure of several senior managers and board members, with new CEO Ahmad Farroukh vowing last November to return the company to profitability within 12 months.

Mobily, an affiliate of Abu Dhabi-listed Etisalat, made a net profit of 11 million riyals ($2.93 million) in the three months to Dec. 31. This compares with a loss of 2.11 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier, according to a bourse statement.

An analyst at Osool & Bakheet Investment Co forecast that Mobily would post a quarterly profit of 125.1 million riyals.

Mobily's fourth-quarter revenue rose 28 percent to 3.49 billion riyals.

The company, which competes with Saudi Telecom and Zain Saudi, trimmed its 2015 net loss to 1.09 billion riyals from 1.58 billion riyals in 2014 as the margin on its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to 20 percent from 16 percent.

In December Mobily said it had signed an agreement with creditors to waive covenant breaches in relation to debt facilities worth 12.1 billion riyals.

This has helped reduce its net current liabilities by nearly half from a year earlier to 9.7 billion riyals.

Mobily continues to discuss a similar waiver with other creditors, the operator added on Thursday.

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