Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), Saudi Arabia’s number two telecom operator, beat analyst forecasts with a 13.4 per cent rise in second-quarter net profit on Tuesday as revenue from data and business services increased and the firm made efficiency gains.
Mobily, an affiliate of the United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat, made a second-quarter net profit of 1.61 billion riyals ($429.31 million), up from 1.42 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.
The firm said the profit increase was “due to the increase in business revenues, higher data revenues and improved efficiencies”, but provided few further details.
Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast Mobily, which competes with former monopoly Saudi Telecom Co and Zain Saudi, to make a quarterly profit of 1.53 billion riyals.
Mobily’s revenue for the three months to June 30 was 5.97 billion riyals, up from 5.68 billion riyals from the prior-year period.
The firm plans to buy a stake in loss-making fixed line operator Etihad Atheeb, a move seen as helping it offer service bundles that include voice, data and television services.
Saudi operators have focused on data and combined services to help offset slumping conventional call margins, which are under pressure due to the surging popularity of substitute services such as Internet-based phone calls and instant messaging.
Mobily’s net profit for the first six months of 2013 was 2.95 billion riyals, up from 2.63 billion riyals a year earlier. Revenue rose nine per cent to 11.6 billion riyals over the same period.
Data revenue accounted for 28 per cent of first half revenue in 2013, up from 25 per cent in the first half of last year.