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Etisalat wants to be ready for M&A – Interview

Etisalat ready for mergers and acquisitions

Etisalat operates in 15 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia after a multi-billion dollar splurge buying foreign licences and stakes over the past decade.

October 24, 2012 5:26 by

On Tuesday, Etisalat posted a third-quarter profit of 2.21 billion dirhams, up 28 percent.

This gain was largely due to a net profit of 430 million dirhams selling a 9.1 percent stake in Indonesian group PT XL Axiata that cut Etisalat’s holding to 4.2 percent.

“In the past we used to be strategic partner, today we are only an investor in the company,” said Julfar, addingEtisalat would assess whether to sell its remaining stake by year-end.

International revenue rose 7 percent in third-quarter, accounting for 30 percent of group revenue, which was flat.

That implied domestic earnings fell despite Etisalat’s mobile subscriber base increasing 11 percent, with conventional call revenue under pressure from alternative, internet-based communications.

That trend has prompted Etisalat to diversify, ramping up other services such mobile money, machine-to-machine communications and cloud computing.

“Although the revenue from this, at the beginning, will be low, it is to position Etisalat as a leading innovative company in the region,” Julfar said.

“We have to put the world into a mobile phone. So your mobile phone will be your phone, your laptop, your gadget to do mobile health, mobile education … to do video-to-video calls.”

Etisalat recently launched 3G services in Afghanistan and will soon do likewise in Ivory Coast. “We have 3G services in all the other markets expect Pakistan so we will see huge growth coming from mobile data,” Julfar said.

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