Stock Etisalat telecom
Growth in international markets more than offset dips in the UAE for Etisalat. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Etisalat has proposed one-off special dividend of 40 fils a share, which will raise the 2020 full-year payout to shareholders of Dh1.2. This special dividend replaces its earlier plan for a share buyback programme, which now stands cancelled.

"In addition to sustaining our total dividend of Dh0.80 per share, we are pleased to be proposing a special one-time dividend of Dh0.40, representing a dividend payout ratio of 115 per cent and a high dividend yield for 2020," said Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman.

It was recently that the telecom giant raised the upper limit for foreign investors in its stock to 49 per cent. (The move was mirrored by its Dubai-based counterpart, du.)

The Etisalat stock has gained 14 per cent in year-to-date, according to Century Financial, and 19 per cent up from January 2020. 

Etisalat - rated last year as having the fastest mobile network in the world - had a consolidated net profit of Dh9 billion, from a 3.8 per cent increase year-on-year increase that’s been attributed to “strong growth in the international operations that outweighed the decline in the UAE operations”.

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Subscriber gains

The aggregate subscriber base reached 154 million, representing an increase of 3.6 per cent, despite having to cope with the pandemic and the sudden sharp rise in user demand for its networks.

“Despite the unprecedented impact of the pandemic, Etisalat demonstrated robust financial performance, driven by our vision to innovate while ensuring that communities we serve remain connected, informed and productive," said Al Tayer, Chairman of Etisalat Group. "Across our footprint, we stood for our communities and took immediate steps to protect our teams and customers, support critical verticals, and ensure the uninterrupted delivery of quality services.

"During the year, revenue and net profit growth were witnessed in our international markets while the domestic market experienced a decline in both due to the pandemic and market maturity."

The company set up a dedicated taskforce after the pandemic hit to "ensure business continuity, monitor the performance of basic applications and ensue smooth access to data locally and internationally."