Saudi Telecom sees Q4 profit edge down by 0.3%

Former monopoly holder says foreign currency losses hit its annual income
Saudi Telecom sees Q4 profit edge down by 0.3%
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Reuters
Wed 18 Jan 2012 08:47 PM

Saudi Telecom Co saw its fourth-quarter net profit edge down 0.3 percent as foreign currency losses hit its annual income, but the operator still beat forecasts.

The former monopoly holder made a net profit of SR2.28bn ($608 million), compared with SR2.29bn a year earlier, it said in a statement posted on the bourse website.

It attributed a 19 percent decrease in net income for the 12-month period to SR7.7bn "to foreign currency exchange fluctuation losses amounting to approximately SR1.1bn".

Analysts polled by Reuters on average expected STC to post a quarterly profit of SR1.93bn. STC's profit had missed estimates in three of the previous four quarters.

STC - which owns 35 percent of Turkey's Oger Telecom, has licences in Bahrain and Kuwait and a controlling stake in Indonesian firm Axis - said revenues were 15.2 billion riyals in the quarter, up from 13.4 billion riyals a year earlier.

The board recommended a 0.50 riyal per share dividend, resulting in a price to earnings ratio of 5.9 percent.

The standout performance for the company was in its wireless broadband services, where revenues more than doubled in the last three months of the year compared to the same period in 2010.

Fixed broadband customers grew by 28 percent on the year.

The operator's shares closed 0.3 percent lower on Saudi Arabia's bourse before the results were announced.

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