Customer base up by 3% to reach almost 27 million

KUWAIT: National Mobile Telecommunications Company K.S.C.P “Ooredoo” announced yesterday its financial results for year 2018:

Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al-Thani

Financial highlights:

  • Consolidated customer base increased by 3 percent to 27.0 million in 2018, compared to 26.3 million in 2017.
  • In local currency terms Kuwait, Tunisia, Maldives and Palestine recorded good growth in revenue. However, revenues in KWD were impacted due to 9.8 percent depreciation of the Tunisian Dinar and 5.5 percent depreciation in the Algerian Dinar. Consequently, consolidated revenue decreased by 5 percent to KD 665.0 million for 2018, compared to KD 697.6 million for the same period in 2017.
  • EBITDA was KD 217.1 million for 2018, compared to KD 255.6 million for the same period in 2017.
  • Net profit attributable to NMTC was KD 29.7 million for 2018, compared to KD 39.5 million for the same period in 2017. The decrease was mainly caused by a lower Algerian contribution due to a weak economic environment, currency devaluation and price competition.
  • The consolidated earnings per share was 59 fils for 2018, compared to 79 fils per share earned for the same period last year. The Board of Directors recommends a dividend payment of 50 fils per share, subject to shareholder approval at the General Assembly scheduled for 14 March 2019.

Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al-Thani, Chairman of the Board of Directors commented: “Despite a challenging environment, Ooredoo Kuwait (NMTC) had a good year in 2018, with revenues at KD 665 million and net profit at KD 29.7 million. Earnings per share were 59 fils for 2018 and we are pleased to announce that our Board of directors proposed a dividend payment of Fils 50 per share, subject to shareholder approval. We remain committed to delivering long-term shareholder value, whilst working hard to ensure our customers receive the greatest levels of service.

In 2018, we continued our digital transformation journey, with innovation and excellence in customer experience at the heart of our strategy. We launched a number of initiatives and offerings that brought greater flexibility and value to our customers whilst opening up new revenue streams for the future.

Our proactive approach to managing the shifting landscape of the telecommunications industry, reflected by the move from voice to data, enabled us to grow our customer number by 3 percent to 27 million for the year ended 31 December 2018, despite the challenging conditions in some of our markets. Financially, we reported good growth in local currency terms, however, due to currency fluctuations, our consolidated financial results were adversely impacted. Additionally, we have seen margin compression in Kuwait, as a result of increased handset sales and weak economic conditions in Algeria. All our other operations contributed positively to EBITDA.
In Kuwait we made significant progress towards becoming the leading integrated communications provider and our customer base increased by 4 percent and revenues were up by 8 percent. In Tunisia, we increased our mobile customer base by 7 percent confirming our position as the Number 1 mobile telecom player.

In Algeria we made strong progress in preparing for a data centric future, adding 1400 4G sites to its LTE network creating the first 4G network to serve 48 wilayas covering 48 percent of the country’s population.

In Palestine, we successfully rebranded Wataniya Mobile to Ooredoo Palestine aligning the company more closely with the group and enabling greater synergies. Customer numbers increased by 27 percent and revenue increased by 17 percent. Maldives performed well, with a 5 percent increase in revenue and a stable customer base of 440,000.”

Review of operations
The Group’s operational performance can be summarized as follows:
Ooredoo – Kuwait
Ooredoo’s customer base in Kuwait increased to 2.3 million in 2018, up by 4 percent compared to 2017. Revenues for 2018 were KD 240.9 million, an increase of 8 percent compared to KD 222.7 million in 2017. Higher handset sales led to an increase in revenue, while at the same time negatively impacting margins. EBITDA was KD 55.0 million for 2018, compared to KD 54.3 million for the previous year.
The B2B in Kuwait was enhanced by a partnership with SAP to provide best in class enterprise cloud services and by leveraging Ooredoo’s state-of-the-art data centers to provide end to end IT solutions to strategic enterprise clients.

Ooredoo – Tunisia
Ooredoo’s customer base in Tunisia increased 8 percent to reach 9.1 million customers in 2018, compared to the previous year. Growth was supported by digital offerings such as Tedallel,’ an in-app multi-platform offering providing users with the flexibility to choose between voice, data or value-added services such as music, video and gaming. The Tunisian dinar depreciated by 9.8 percent year on year, leading to a decrease in revenues from KD 127.5 million in 2017 to KD 126.6 million in 2018. In local currency terms, revenues were up by 9.0 percent. EBITDA was KD 49.3 million in 2018 compared to KD 50.5 million in 2017.

Ooredoo – Algeria
Ooredoo Algeria added 1400 4G sites to its LTE network creating the first 4G network to serve 48 wilayas covering 48 percent of the country’s population. Data traffic increased 117 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year.
Business in Algeria was negatively impacted by the devaluation of the Algerian Dinar, intense price competition and a weak economic environment. Customer base declined by 3 percent to 13.9 million in 2018, compared to 2017. Revenues also decreased to KD 228.9 million in 2018, compared to KD 285.1 million in the previous year. EBITDA was KD 85.3 million in 2018, down from KD 125.5 million in 2017. Algerian dinar depreciated by 5.5 percent year on year.

Ooredoo – Palestine
Ooredoo Palestine made good progress in 2018, with the launch of the 3G network in the West Bank in January 2018 Customer numbers increased by 27 percent to 1.3 million, benefiting from the Gaza launch in October 2017. Revenue increased to KD 30.3 million, up by 17 percent compared to KD 26.0 million in 2017. EBITDA was strong, increasing to KD 8.0 million in 2018 compared to KD 5.7 million in 2017.

Ooredoo – Maldives
Ooredoo Maldives reported a 5 percent increase in revenues to KD 38.2 million in 2018, compared to KD 36.3 million in 2017. EBITDA was stable at KD 19.7 million in 2018. Ooredoo Maldives now serves a total of 440k customers.
Ooredoo Maldives entered the content space with the launch of Amazon Prime Video and OpenMiTV, an application allowing television to be viewed anywhere.