Qatari telecoms heavyweight Ooredoo Group has posted a 3.4% year-on-year fall in consolidated first-quarter 2014 revenues to QAR8.103 billion (USD2.224 billion), while the group’s EBITDA also declined, by 8.5% y-o-y to QAR3.378 billion in the three months ended 31 March. The revenue decline was blamed on ‘the challenging operating environment and depreciation of the Indonesian Rupiah… partially offset by strong growth in data revenue,’ while the drop in EBITDA reflected the competitive challenges in Ooredoo’s operating markets, as well as foreign exchange impact and the investment in a new network at its fledgling Myanmar subsidiary, its statement said. However, 1Q14 net profit was boosted by 9.7% to QAR887 million compared to QAR808 million in the same period of last year, driven by positive forex trends in Indonesia during the three months under review. Consolidated customers grew by 6.3% over twelve months to 96.7 million at the end of Q1 2014.
Ooredoo Qatar’s revenues grew by 8.3% year-on-year to QAR1.706 billion in Q1 2014 and Qatari EBITDA showed a healthy increase of 7.4% y-o-y to QAR828 million. In Indonesia, Indosat’s consolidated customer base reached 59.8 million (62% of the Ooredoo group total) at 31 March 2014, up from 56.1 million in 1Q13, although Ooredoo’s reported Indonesian revenue (in Qatari currency) for January-March 2014 decreased by 18.2% year-on-year to QAR1.780 billion (Q1 2013: QAR2.175 billion) and EBITDA was 18.4% lower y-o-y at QAR851 million. The group notes that in local currency terms, Indosat’s revenue and EBITDA in 1Q14 were ‘almost on par with last year’. Iraqi cellular unit Asiacell’s revenues were pressurised by increasing levels of competition, and fell 6.4% to QAR1.618 billion, while EBITDA dropped 15.1% to QAR764 million. Asiacell focused on a number of cost efficiencies during the first quarter in the face of the competitive challenges whilst continuing its rollout programme of network modernisation. Asiacell’s customer base increased by 4.4% year-on-year to 10.8 million at 31 March 2014.
Post reporting period, Ooredoo reported that on 22 April 2014 it entered into a strategic partnership with Rocket Internet to develop online businesses in Asia, noting that e-commerce is ‘a significant growth opportunity in the region adjacent to our traditional core business.’