Ooredoo Qatar has reported that its domestic annual revenue grew by 5.9% last year to QAR6.6 billion (USD1.8 billion), up from QAR6.2 billion in 2012, while its Qatari consolidated fixed, mobile and broadband customer base reached 2.9 million, up from 2.7 million twelve months earlier. Qatar-only EBITDA showed a slight increase of 0.7% year-on-year to QAR3.3 billion in 2013 despite re-branding and network modernisation programmes generating higher costs. The operator’s investment in a nationwide fibre broadband access network in Qatar resulted in it announcing the milestone of 100,000 fibre broadband customers around the end of 2013, while it says its 4G LTE mobile broadband network covered all major urban areas by the end of the year.
In the wider Ooredoo Group, the Qatari firm reported a 13% year-on-year drop in net profit to QAR2.6 billion despite consolidated revenue rising 1.1% to QAR33.9 billion, driven by Qatar, Algeria and Iraq, but weighed down by competitive and economic challenges in Kuwait and Tunisia, while one of its growth-engine subsidiaries, Indosat in Indonesia, posted healthy revenue growth in local currency but was impacted by currency depreciation. Ooredoo Group’s consolidated customer base increased by 3.5% in the fourth quarter to reach 96 million at the end of December 2013. Indosat’s subscribers alone rose by 2% to 59.7 million, but the Indonesian unit’s revenue in reported currency dropped by 5% to QAR8.4 billion while the division’s EBITDA declined by 13% to QAR3.9 billion. Total Ooredoo group EBITDA fell 6% to QAR14.6 billion, giving an EBITDA margin of 43% in 2013, lower than 47% the previous year. Extra costs have been incurred by the gradual group rebranding to Ooredoo, so far reaching Qatar, Algeria, Tunisia and the Maldives.
Ooredoo’s Iraqi cellular unit Asiacell reported a 3% rise in revenue to QAR7.1 billion in 2013, while its subscribers increased by 7% to 10.7 million, although it too saw a fall in EBITDA, albeit marginal, to QAR3.6 billion for the year. Newly licensed Ooredoo Myanmar will launch its mobile voice/data services ‘within six months’ in major areas of the country before expanding its network to 97% of the population. Start-up costs in the developing south-east Asian state further dragged at Ooredoo’s margins in 2013.