Ooredoo ahead of Viva in subscribers, but vice versa for revenues

11 Feb 2019

Ooredoo Kuwait reported a full-year domestic revenue total for 2018 of KWD240.9 million (USD792.8 million), an increase of 8% compared to KWD222.7 million in 2017. Higher handset sales boosted revenue, while at the same time negatively impacting margins. EBITDA was KWD55.0 million for 2018, compared to KWD54.3 million for the previous year. Ooredoo’s Kuwaiti mobile customer base increased to 2.3 million in 2018, up by 4% compared to a year earlier. In the wider Ooredoo Kuwait sub-group (Kuwait, Algeria, Maldives, Palestine, Tunisia) the consolidated customer base increased by 3% to 27.0 million in 2018, compared to 26.3 million at end-2017. In local currency terms each unit except Algeria recorded satisfactory growth in revenue, but consolidated revenues in KWD were impacted due to 9.8% depreciation of the Tunisian Dinar and 5.5% depreciation in the Algerian Dinar. Consequently, consolidated sub-group revenue decreased by 5% to KWD665.0 million for 2018, compared to KWD697.6 million in 2017.

Close mobile rival to Ooredoo, Viva Kuwait, recorded a 4% revenue rise to KWD288 million in FY 2018 as well as a rise in full-year EBITDA to KWD77.8 million compared to KWD71.1 million in FY 2017, despite the Viva customer base falling to 2.2 million at end-2018 from 2.3 million twelve months earlier. Viva’s 2018 net profit rose 18% year-on-year to KWD50.4 million. Chairman Mahmoud Ahmed Abdulrahman said: ‘Despite the high competition … Viva was able to achieve good levels of revenues and growth in profitability to sustain the operational efficiency … amid the current fierce conditions … and the decline in telecom tariffs thus pressurising the growth of revenues.’ CEO Mohammed Bin Abdulmohsen Al-Assaf added: ‘Viva’s financial results reflect its ability to compete, sustain revenues and maintain its position as the second largest telecom operator in the Kuwaiti market [in revenue terms, behind Zain Kuwait] … We started to observe the impact of the cost optimisation programme adopted by the company during the current year on profitability.’

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