Ooredoo net income boosted by customer gains

Qatari telecoms incumbent Ooredoo says net profit for the first quarter of 2013 grew by 13.6%, to QAR808 million ($222 million), compared with the same period in 2012, boosted by a strong performance in both domestic and overseas markets.

The Group’s revenues rose by 5.2%, to QAR8.44 billion, as operations in Qatar, Indonesia and Oman continued to sign up new mobile subscribers.

Qatari telecoms incumbent Ooredoo says net profit for the first quarter of 2013 grew by 13.6%, to QAR808 million ($222 million), compared with the same period in 2012, boosted by a strong performance in both domestic and overseas markets.

The Group’s revenues rose by 5.2%, to QAR8.44 billion, as operations in Qatar, Indonesia and Oman continued to sign up new mobile subscribers.

Known as Qatar Telecom or QTel before its rebranding in February 2013, Ooredoo (Doha, Qatar) now claims to serve a total of 91 million customers across its various subsidiaries, up from 84.4 million in the first quarter of 2012.

The operator also reported rising usage of mobile internet services, with the recent launch of LTE services in Qatar likely to boost interest in this area over the coming months.

“Our customers are demanding on-line access to services on their smartphones and we are determined to meet and exceed their expectations,” said Nasser Marafih, the company’s chief executive, in a statement. “We believe these enhancements present us with a number of growth opportunities and are excited about the prospects for the Group in the year ahead.”

Earnings per share worked out at QAR2.52, reflecting the issuance of bonus shares of 30% of share capital in March 2012 as well as a rights issue in June the same year.

Like other incumbents in the Middle East region, Ooredoo has been expanding into foreign markets to compensate for the lack of growth opportunities in its tiny domestic market.

Last week it said it had submitted a binding offer for a controlling stake in Morocco’s Maroc Telecom (Rabat, Morocco) put up for sale by French media conglomerate Vivendi (Paris, France), with regional rival Etisalat (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) also bidding for the asset.

It also increased its stake in Iraq’s Asiacell (Sulaimaniyah, Iraq) from 52.9% to 64% during the operator’s $1.3 billion initial public offering in February.

That followed a $1.8 billion deal in October last year to increase its stake in Wataniya (Kuwait City, Kuwait) to 92.1% from a previous level of 52.5%.