Qatar-based telecoms group Ooredoo has posted a 3% year-on-year fall in first-half 2014 consolidated revenues to QAR16.504 billion (USD4.530 billion), as it reported that strong performances in Qatar, Oman and Algeria were offset by revenue declines in Indonesia, Kuwait and Iraq (affected by the current Iraqi insurgency and instability). However, it noted that, excluding the effects of Indonesian foreign exchange, H1 group revenue would have increased by 1%. Consolidated EBITDA dropped by 10% year-on-year in January-June 2014 to reach QAR6.870 billion – giving an EBITDA margin of 42% compared to 45% in 1H13. The company noted that, excluding the impact of Indonesian FX and start-up costs of its fledgling mobile network operation in Myanmar, EBITDA would have decreased by 3% in the period under review. The group’s net profit in 1H14 stood at QAR1.704 billion, down by 2% from the same period of last year, while excluding Indonesian FX and Myanmar start-up costs, net profit would have grown by 1%, Ooredoo added. In other highlights, data revenue reached 20% of total group revenue in the first six months of 2014, and the total customer base reached 93.9 million at 30 June, up by 2% from 92.1 million a year earlier.
Ooredoo Qatar’s increased focus on data and business services helped drive Qatari revenue up by 9% year-on-year to QAR3.502 billion in 1H14, while EBITDA climbed 9% to QAR1.743 billion, and customers increased by 9% to 2.99 million. Ooredoo Qatar installed its 500th 4G LTE cell site in the period, while increasing its number of direct fibre broadband customers past 150,000.
Indosat, Ooredoo’s Indonesian subsidiary, continued to face an intensely competitive market place, reflected in lower revenues for the first half of 2014 at QAR3.609 billion (1H13: QAR4.375 billion) and EBITDA decreasing by 21% to QAR1.659 billion due to increased cost of sales and operational expenditure. Indosat’s EBITDA margin decreased to 46% compared to 48% for 1H13. At 30 June 2014 Indosat’s total customer base stood at 55 million (1H 2013: 56.6 million).
Wataniya Telecom, encompassing Ooredoo Group’s businesses in Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria, the Maldives and Palestine, posted QAR4.901 billion in revenues for the first six months of 2014, up by 3% from its 1H13 figure of QAR4.746 billion, while the Wataniya sub-group’s six-month EBITDA stood at QAR1.783 billion (down from QAR1.887 billion). Wataniya’s total customer base increased to 21.6 million at mid-2014, a y-o-y increase of 10%.
Ooredoo’s Iraqi division Asiacell faced a growing wave of political and social instability during the period, allied to the effects of an increasingly competitive market. Consequently, revenue for the first half of 2014 was QAR3.220 billion (down 8% from 1H13: QAR3.502 billion), while EBITDA was down by 17% to QAR1.544 billion and EBITDA margin was also down to 48% from 53% a year earlier. Asiacell focused on a number of cost efficiencies during the period whilst continuing its programme of network modernisation; Asiacell’s customer base grew by 10.6% to 11.6 million at 30 June 2014.
Finally, at Omani unit Nawras, year-on-year revenue growth of 10% to QAR1.066 billion in 1H14 was driven by mobile and fixed data revenues, offset partially by a decline in SMS revenue. EBITDA also increased by 23% to QAR544 million due to revenue growth and lower cost of sales partially offset by higher operational expenditure. Nawras’ net profit increased by 23% to QAR177 million compared to the first half of 2013, as total customers grew by 8% to 2.5 million.