UAE telco Etisalat Q1 profit rises 11%

Gulf's No.2 telecom operator by planning to expand its "geographic footprint"
UAE telco Etisalat Q1 profit rises 11%
By Reuters
Sun 27 Apr 2014 03:45 PM

Etisalat, the Gulf's
No.2 telecom operator by market value, reported an 11 percent rise in
first-quarter profit on Sunday as its revenue and subscriber base increased and
capital expenditure and taxes declined.

The former monopoly, which operates in 15 countries
across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a net profit of AED2bn
($544.5m) in the three months to March 31, beating analysts' forecasts
for AED1.8bn.

Etisalat, which has agreed to buy Paris-listed
Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, generated quarterly revenue of AED9.9bn, up from AED9.6bn a year earlier.

The UAE remains Etisalat's core market, providing
AED6.5bn of quarterly revenue, up 8 percent from a year earlier to
account for almost two-thirds of the group total.

"We will continue to expand our service
offering and geographic footprint in order to diversify our revenue base,"
Ahmad Julfar, Etisalat chief executive, said in the statement.

"Africa remains a strategic region for our
business."

First-quarter capital spending fell 14 percent to
AED900m.

The UAE government has introduced a new royalty -
or tax - regime for Etisalat and its rival operator du.

This has eased the tax burden on Etisalat slightly,
with the company paying an effective royalty rate of 48 percent on its
first-quarter profit, down from 50 percent a year earlier.

Etisalat had 145 million subscribers as of
March-end, up 3 percent from a year earlier.

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