Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) has reported its annual results for 2013, in which consolidated group net profit decreased by 28% to BHD43.6 million (USD115.6 million), impacted by a number of one-off expenses including those associated with the acquisition of its Islands subsidiaries from Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC). EBITDA for the year was BHD120.7 million, representing a margin of 33%, an increase from EBITDA of BHD101.8 million (although an unchanged margin) in 2012. The rise in EBITDA was attributed to the positive impact of the group’s overseas operations and improved performance in its domestic market. Total revenues for 2013 rose by 22% to BHD370.6 million, up from BHD304.7 million the previous year. 54% of revenues and 50% of EBITDA are now generated from markets outside of Bahrain.
Batelco said it was ‘very pleased’ with the transformation achieved over the past twelve months, following the acquisition of a number of units from CWC including Dhiraagu (Maldives), SURE Channel Islands/Isle of Man, and SURE operations in the Falkland Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Diego Garcia. In December 2013 the group announced that it agreed with CWC to unwind the transfer of a minority stake in Monaco Telecom from CWC to Batelco, and accordingly CWC re-paid Batelco USD100 million. Batelco also announced that its proposed acquisition of Cable & Wireless Seychelles did not receive regulatory approval and was therefore abandoned.
Batelco’s total group subscriber base grew by 18% over the twelve-month period to 9.0 million across 14 territories. Mobile subscriber numbers grew 18% year-on-year (including 2% quarter-on-quarter growth in Q4 2013). This increase was supported by strong performance in Bahrain, Jordan and Yemen as well as across new operations. Broadband customers for the year also increased by 26% year-on-year (and 2% q-o-q in 4Q13), with results supported by progress in Jordan. Fixed line subscribers rose by 39% y-o-y, boosted by the addition of the Islands portfolio.