Saudi Telecom has flagged a sharp increase in quarterly profits thanks to the implementation of new cost-cutting measures, and says it is considering the sale of further assets to improve its fiscal position.
The Saudi Arabian incumbent reported a 73% increase in net income for the third quarter, to SAR3.39 billion ($904 million), compared with the same period a year earlier, while revenues for the first nine months of the year edged up by 2.5%, to SAR34.3 billion.
Despite those improvements, net income over the nine-month period fell by 8%, to SAR6.36 billion, due to foreign-exchange movements and the booking of one-time charges related to the fair valuation of investments in Asia.
“The strong financial results achieved during the third quarter reflects the efforts being made to constantly evolve, improve and develop the company’s strategy both domestically and internationally,” said Abdulaziz Al-Sugair, Saudi Telecom’s (Riyadh) chairman.
“We maintain an acute focus on reinforcing our presence in our home market while at the same time, we will continue with the rationalization of STC’s international portfolio, and continue with evaluating options for some of these investments in order to take appropriate actions in the best interest of the shareholders,” he added.
The operator has already concluded an agreement to sell Axis, its Indonesian business, to Malaysia’s Axiata Group, although the deal still needs to be signed off by Indonesian regulatory authorities.
In its domestic market, Saudi Telecom said it would press on with the expansion of 3G and 4G infrastructure, noting that its 4G network now covers 76% of Saudi Arabia’s population.
It also noted a 63% increase in revenues from wireless broadband services during the third quarter, compared with the same period of 2012.
“STC sees the growth in the domestic market is sustainable short to mid-term specifically in broadband (fixed and mobile) and business sector services, and that STC will continue to provide more focus on these growing sectors domestically and make all resources available in order to capture the largest share of this growth in the future,” said Al-Sugair.