Qatari Telecom Firm Ooredoo Posts 14.6% Rise In Q4 Profit

Profit was boosted by higher revenue in Qatar, Indonesia and Iraq.



Qatar Telecom reported a 14.6 per cent rise in fourth-quarter profit on Sunday as higher revenue in its home market, Indonesia and Iraq offset declining earnings from Kuwaiti unit Wataniya and Oman’s Nawras.

The former monopoly, which renamed itself ooredoo last week, made a net profit of QAR523 million ($143.7 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, up from QAR456 million in the year-earlier period, it said in an emailed statement.

Two analysts polled by Reuters had forecast ooredoo would make a quarterly profit of between QAR761 million and QAR1.02 billion.

Ooredoo, which operates in 16 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, said it would pay a cash dividend of QAR5 per share.

Full-year domestic revenue rose nine per cent to exceed QAR6 billion, ooredoo said, without stating a precise figure, while revenue from Indonesia unit Indosat increased three per cent to QAR8.8 billion.

Full-year group revenue reached QAR33.7 billion, up 6.2 per cent from 2011.

Ooredoo has spent about $3.9 billion in the past 12 months upping its stakes in some foreign units, taking majority control of Iraq’s Asiacell, while it now owns 90 per cent or more of Kuwait’s Wataniya, through which it holds controlling stakes in operators in Tunisia and Algeria.

Asiacell’s full-year revenue rose 15.9 per cent to QAR6.9 billion from a year earlier.

Wataniya, Kuwait’s No.2 operator, reported a 26.5 per cent drop in fourth-quarter profit last month that it blamed on tougher competition at home and foreign exchange losses in Tunisia and Algeria.

In January, Omani subsidiary Nawras posted a fourth straight decline in quarterly profit as falling revenue from texts and on-network calls weighed on its bottom line.

Last week, Qatar Telecom rebranded itself as ooredoo, which means “I want” in Arabic, saying all its majority-owned units would come under the new name within two years.

It is also jostling with Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates and KT Corp, Korea’s second-biggest telco, to buy Vivendi’s 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom.

Ooredoo made an annual net profit of QAR2.94 billion in 2012, up from QAR2.61 billion in 2011.

Fourth-quarter revenue was QAR8.71 billion. This compares with 8.19 billion a year ago.