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Du’s parent company to pay out highest annual dividend

The telecom operator reported a 14.9% jump in fourth-quarter profit of Dh425 million compared to Dh370 million a year ago

Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News Archive
Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer of EITC
Gulf News

DUBAI: Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), the parent company of du, has proposed the highest annual dividend payout in the history of the company at 35 fils per share, excluding special dividend, after reporting strong fourth-quarter and full-year results.

Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer of EITC, said that the company proposed a final annual dividend payment of Dh997 million, of which 22 fils per share is the final dividend payment for the year.

“Due to a very strong fourth quarter, we managed to offset the weak first quarter and end the year on a positive note. We crossed Dh13 billion full-year revenue mark for the first time.””Tweet this

The company paid an interim cash dividend of Dh0.13 per share and distributed Dh589.3 million for the first half of this year.

In 2016, the total proposed dividend payout was Dh0.34 per share, including a Dh0.13 per share dividend paid in October.

“Due to a very strong fourth quarter, we managed to offset the weak first quarter and end the year on a positive note. We crossed Dh13 billion full-year revenue mark for the first time. Considering the investments made to launch the Virgin Mobile brand and in non-connectivity businesses such as Smart City, ICT and smart solutions for Dubai Silicon Oasis and Dubai Sports City,” he said.

The Dubai-based telecom operator reported a 14.9 per cent increase in fourth-quarter profit of Dh425 million compared to Dh370 million a year ago but its revenue for the period rose by only 0.5 per cent to Dh3.45 billion compared to Dh3.43 billion.

For the year, the operator made a net profit of Dh1.71 billion compared to Dh1.75 billion in 2016 while its revenues surged 2.2 per cent to Dh13 billion compared to Dh12.73 billion in 2016.

“We are re-centring our businesses, starting to set up ourselves beyond the connectivity business. We have put a new organisational structure in place last year, with the objective to protect our core telecom business and grow our adjacent businesses,” Sultan said.

“Our focus is on both the enterprise sector, expanding into ICT, and the consumer sector where we will grow our digital, lifestyle and entertainment services. Our industry is in the midst of a major digital transformation. The rapid development of smart technology, combined with increased reliance on cloud services and the explosive impact of big data and IoT (internet of Things), has redefined the way people interact and how companies do business,” he added.

The digital lifestyle and innovation division will focus on the development of innovative products and services for consumers including video and smart home services while the infrastructure division will consolidate all infrastructure, network, and data centre operations that are currently under the EITC umbrella.

“We have in parallel an efficient programme to rationalise cost of sales, operating and capital expenses. In five years from now, we will not be operating in the same way compared to now and will be operating in a much efficient way. We have started the programme end of 2016 to really look out at the cost structure, point by point, in a systematic methodology and find ways where we can find efficiency,” he said.

Subscriber base

The operator’s mobile subscribers decreased 4.6 per cent to 8.25 million last year compared to 8.65 million a year ago but its mobile revenues grew 1.5 per cent to Dh2.63 billion compared to Dh2.59 billion a year ago. The non-connectivity business contributed around 3 per cent to the total revenue.

Sultan did not give more details about its Virgin Mobile brand subscribers but said that subscribership is ramping up and it is positioned at higher average revenue per user when compared to some of its products.

“We are positioning Virgin to offer premium experiences to tech-savvy customers,” he said.

The operator’s fixed-line subscribers grew 6.1 per cent to 740,000 during the quarter compared to 698,000 a year ago. Revenues from fixed line grew 0.5 per cent to Dh578 million compared to Dh575 a year ago.

Du will be investing between Dh1.3 billion and Dh1.5 billion in infrastructure this year.

 

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