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Saudi telecom Q4 earnings flat, still beat estimates

Saudi telecom Q4 earnings flat, still beat estimates

Saudi Telecom Co saw its fourth-quarter net profit edge down 0.3 percent as foreign currency losses hit its annual income, but the operator still beat forecasts.

January 19, 2012 2:37 by

The former monopoly holder made a net profit of 2.28 billion riyals ($608 million), compared with 2.29 billion riyals a year earlier, it said in a statement posted on the bourse website.

It attributed a 19 percent decrease in net income for the 12-month period to 7.7 billion riyals “to foreign currency exchange fluctuation losses amounting to approximately 1.1 billion riyals”.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average expected STC to post a quarterly profit of 1.93 billion riyals. STC’s profit had missed estimates in three of the previous four quarters.

STC — which owns 35 percent of Turkey’s Oger Telecom, has licences in Bahrain and Kuwait and a controlling stake in Indonesian firm Axis — said revenues were 15.2 billion riyals in the quarter, up from 13.4 billion riyals a year earlier.

The board recommended a 0.50 riyal per share dividend, resulting in a price to earnings ratio of 5.9 percent.

The standout performance for the company was in its wireless broadband services, where revenues more than doubled in the last three months of the year compared to the same period in 2010.

Fixed broadband customers grew by 28 percent on the year.

The operator’s shares closed 0.3 percent lower on Saudi Arabia’s bourse before the results were announced. ($1 = 3.7502 Saudi riyals) (Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Firouz Sedarat)

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