Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reported an 8.5% fall in net profit for the three months to 30 September 2015 to AED1.95 billion (USD530 million), down from AED2.13 billion a year earlier, due to wider foreign exchange losses and a higher federal royalty payment. Consolidated revenues dropped 1% to AED12.99 billion. While revenues from its domestic operations rose 6% to AED7.17 billion, there were declines in markets such as Egypt, Pakistan and West Africa. The group’s international businesses contributed 44% of overall revenues in the third quarter. EBITDA dropped 5% to AED6.65 billion due to lower revenue and higher regulatory and interconnection costs.
In operational terms, the group registered subscriber growth in its home market, as customer numbers increased 7% year-on-year to 11.6 million, though the overall group user total dropped from 180 million at end-September 2014 to 170 million a year later due to the wiping of inactive accounts in a number of markets.
The firm’s chief executive, Ahmad Julfar, commented: ‘Etisalat Group continues to capitalise on the opportunities we see for growth, but there are also clear challenges ahead for the telecommunications sector. Consumer behaviours and new technologies – and uses for those technologies – are rapidly changing the telecommunications industry.’