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UAE telco du Q1 profit up 62 percent as mobile data surges

UAE telco du Q1 profit up 62 percent as mobile data surges

Q1 profit 333.1 mln dirhams vs 205.8 mln dirhams a year-ago; Q1 revenue 2.45 bln dirhams, up from 2.04 bln dirhams in Q1 2011; Co claims 46.7 pct mkt share of UAE mobile subscribers; Mobile data revenue more than doubles

May 12, 2012 7:52 by

United Arab Emirates’ du on Thursday reported a 62 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, beating analysts’ estimates, as the telecoms operator added subscribers and mobile data revenue more than doubled from a year earlier.

Du, which is majority-owned by government institutions, made a profit of 333.1 million dirhams ($90.69 million)in the three months to March 31, up from 205.8 million dirhams in the year-earlier period, according to a statement to the Dubai bourse.

A one-off gain of 30 million dirhams from “favourable settlements” also boosted this year’s first-quarter profit. The company did not provide further details on the gain.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Du would make a quarterly profit of 268 million dirhams.

Quarterly revenue was 2.45 billion dirhams, up from 2.04 billion dirhams in the corresponding period of 2011. Revenue from mobile services rose 21.8 percent to 1.9 billion dirhams.

Mobile data revenue more than doubled from a year earlier to 297 million dirhams.

“We believe this will continue to grow in importance as a revenue stream,” Chief Executive Osman Sultan said in the statement.

Du, which ended rival Etisalat’s domestic monopoly in 2007, also added 320,600 mobile subscribers to increase its mobile customer base to 5.5 million, giving it a 46.7 percent market share in the country.

Fixed line subscribers also rose 13.5 percent to 545,300, while the firm’s operating margin in the first-quarter was 37.8 percent, up from 30.5 percent in the corresponding period of 2011.

Network sharing in the UAE, which will allow competition in home telecoms services, faces further delays because du and rival Etisalat have yet to agree on commercial terms for the arrangement.

Shares in du have risen 6.6 percent year-to-date. They were yet to begin trade on the Dubai bourse Thursday. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)  (Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Dinesh Nair)

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