Batelco 2015 net profit tops $131m
Bahrain-based Batelco Group, a leading telecom group with operations across 14 countries, has reported net profits of BD49.5 million ($131.3 million) for 2015 as against BD49.3 million ($130.8 million) for 2014.
Net profit in the fourth quarter of the year was 2 per cent higher than the correspondent quarter in 2014.
EBITDA for the year was BD137.9 million ($365.8 million) versus EBITDA of BD144.7 million ($383.8 million) for 2014, a 5 per cent decrease year-on-year (YoY) and 7 per cent since Q4 2014. Although EBITDA was negatively impacted by reduced operating results, the Group was able to continue its cost containment discipline with a 6 per cent favourable variance in operating expenditure in 2015 versus the previous year, a statement said.
The Group’s Gross Revenues stood at BD372.4 million ($987.8 million) for the year versus BD389.7 million ($1,033.7 million) in the previous year, a decrease of 4 per cent year over year. Q4 2015 gross revenues were 5 per cent lower than the fourth quarter of 2014 due to competitive pressure in a number of markets and the resultant falling subscriber numbers.
Operating Profits decreased by 10 per cent YoY from BD77.7 million ($206.1 million) in 2014 to BD70.2 million ($186.2 million) in 2015. Similarly, and following the same trend as EBITDA, Q4 2015 operating profits were down by 14 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2014.
Nonetheless, the Group ended the year with a strong balance sheet and financial position. As of 31 December 2015, net assets were BD573.1 million ($1,520.2 million) with substantial cash and bank balances of BD160 million ($424.4 million). Earnings per share for the full year in 2015 stood at 29.8 fils, compared with 29.7 fils reported in 2014.
The Group also reported that the Board of Directors would recommend to the Annual General Assembly of Shareholders a full year cash dividend of BD41.58 million ($110.29 million), at a value of 25 fils per share, of which 10 fils per share was already paid during the third quarter of 2015 with the remaining 15 fils to be paid in cash following the AGM in March.
Batelco Group chairman Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said: “We continue to face demanding market conditions across a number of our Group’s operations with the impact reflected in reduced subscriber numbers and negative revenue trends. While some of our operations ended the year on a positive note, the overall picture remains challenging. Nonetheless, we are optimistic that our cost transformation activities, investment in new networks including fibre and efforts to develop and strengthen our digital solutions portfolio, will ultimately boost subscriber numbers and the bottom line.”
“Our strategy and on-going efforts to achieve operational excellence continues and our goal is to deliver sustainable, profitable revenue growth to deliver value for our stakeholders,” Shaikh Hamad added.
Batelco Group CEO Ihab Hinnawi stated that across the Group customers’ needs continue to evolve with the demand for mobility and data growing in line with global trends towards a digital world with smart homes and smart cities.
“The Group is witnessing significant changes in the usage behaviour of its customers as they become more active members of the emerging digital society. Accordingly, the Group is in a phase of transformation with our sights set on an era of digitalisation; we understand that the future for communications lies in the digital society and across our operations we are making strides to implement and introduce relevant digital solutions for our business customers and consumers.
“Competitive pressure and the conversion of growing demands into enhanced revenues combine to create formidable challenges which are faced by the communications industry as a whole,” he added.
“Our investment in new networks continued during 2015 to deliver the most reliable cutting edge technology including 300 mbps Broadband, to ensure superior customer experience. The service over our new fibre networks, which we continue to take into new locations, features the highest dedicated, superfast download speed in Bahrain.”
“During 2016 we will continue to focus on delivering top quality products and services throughout the year for both the business and consumer sectors, with all our products and services intended to improve people’s lives in welcome, relevant and affordable ways,” Hinnawi added.