Business | Telecoms

Telecom firm du turns first annual profit

Telecom operator du on Monday reported its first annual profit, of Dh8 million before royalty, less than two years after its launch in February 2007.

  • By Nadia Saleem, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 12:07 February 9, 2009
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Supplied photo
  • The company said it would invest up to Dh2b in 2009 to strengthen its telecommunications infrastructure.

Dubai: Telecom operator du on Monday reported its first annual profit, of Dh8 million before royalty, less than two years after its launch in February 2007.

Overall revenues for 2008 grew by 157 per cent year-on-year to Dh3.95 billion, compared to Dh1.53 billion for 2007.

The fourth quarter saw the company's highest quarterly profit of Dh78 million, almost double the number of Dh31 million profit from the quarter before. For the full year of 2008, the net profit amounted to Dh4 million, compared to a loss of Dh885 million from the year before.

Osman Sultan, du chief executive, told Gulf News that the results were beyond the company's expectations. "We were a little bit ambitious about setting the targets for the company... we have exceeded them," he said.

The company acquired 1.8 million mobile subscribers during the year, 628,000 of which were added only in the fourth quarter. While active mobile subscribers more than doubled year-on-year to 2.4 million, its number of total customers passed 3 million in the beginning of December. Mobile revenues brought in Dh2.62 billion, at a year-on-year rise of 274 per cent.

Matthew Reed, senior analyst, Middle East and Africa, Informa Telecoms and Media, said the telecom company's mobile subscribers were beyond their forecasted year-end of 2,283,900 subscriptions.

"du came in as the second operator at a time when the market still offered some significant growth potential. It has promoted its services fairly effectively and kept costs down sufficiently," he said.

du's fixed line subscribers grew 72 per cent to 280,000 active subscribers. The revenues touched Dh830 million for the year, an increase of 58 per cent.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased significantly quarter on quarter from Dh2 million in the first quarter to Dh236 million by the end of the year.

Capital expenditure continued with a total of Dh1.9 billion invested into the development of du's fixed and mobile networks in the UAE, the company said.

This year, the company plans to invest an additional Dh2 billion in telecommunication infrastructure to increase capacity, coverage and quality, Sultan said in a public statement.

"This will enable us to better meet the requirements of our existing customer base and to position ourselves for future success."

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