Qtel Announces New Group COO

The Qatar-based telecommunications firm promotes Ahmed Al-Derbesti to chief operating officer.

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has appointed Ahmed Al-Derbesti as its new group chief operating officer, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Derbesti was previously chief wholesale and international services officer.

Derbesti will “support efforts to make Qtel Group a leader in customer experience, an innovator in the field of performance management and a pioneer in broadband technologies and other digital futures,” the statement said.

Late last month, Qtel raised 6.8 billion riyals ($1.87 billion) from a fully subscribed rights issue, to be used for general corporate purposes and to refinance existing debt.

The shares will be tradable from June 20, a separate statement from the company said on Monday.

Earlier this month, Gulf Business reported how Qtel will pay $1.47 billion to increase its stake in Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell to 60 per cent.

“Asiacell is an outstanding business and has seen excellent performance year on year,” Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, the Qtel Group chairman said in a statement.

“The Iraqi market is about to enter a period of rapid broadband and data growth,” he said.

“We remain committed to sharing this successful and important company with the Iraqi public and we continue to work hard on preparing for Asiacell’s landmark IPO planned for later this year.

“Qtel is committed to reinforcing Asiacell’s position as the leading communications company in Iraq and will be investing significantly into this vision.”

More than 80 per cent of Qtel Group’s revenues are now generated outside Qatar, with a fifth reportedly coming from Iraq.

Qtel made a profit of QAR711 million ($195.29 million) during the first quarter of this year, down 12 per cent compared to the same period last year. Quarterly revenues however rose 7.6 per cent to QAR8.03 billion.

Qtel shares ended Monday down 0.3 per cent, trimming year-to-date gains to 16.1 per cent.