Ooredoo Group posted a net profit of QR420mn in the first quarter, the telecom major said Monday.
This was down 13% compared to the same period last year, Ooredoo said the “decrease” was primarily due to lower FX gains in Myanmar compared to the previous year. Excluding the FX impact, net profit attributable to Ooredoo shareholders increased by 8%.
Group EBITDA was QR3.2bn with a corresponding EBITDA margin of 44%. Group EBITDA margin increased by 4 percentage points year-on-year mainly due to rigid cost management, reduced cost of sales from equipment sales and a positive impact from the new IFRS 16 accounting standards, changing the classification of operating leases.
First-quarter revenue stood at QR7.2bn, a decline of 6% compared to the same period last year, largely driven by a "reduction" in handset sales, an industry wide shift from voice services to data services, as well as "macroeconomic and currency weakness" in some of our markets.
Increased monetisation of data business, with significant data growth coming from consumer and enterprise customers saw data revenue increase to 50% of the group revenue. Revenue from data contributed QR3.6bn.
Commenting on the results, Ooredoo Group chairman HE Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani said, “Traditional telecom services remain under pressure, in line with regional and global trends for our industry. The Ooredoo Group reported a solid set of results for the first quarter of the year.
“Consolidated group revenue was QR7.2bn down from QR7.7bn in 2018, due to a reduction in handset sales, currency depreciation and economic weakness in some of our emerging markets that have adversely affected our reported revenue in Qatari riyals.
“Group EBITDA was QR3.2bn, up 4% compared to the same period last year. Our EBITDA margin improved from 40% to 44%, driven by comprehensive cost management programmes and the positive impact of the new IFRS 16 accounting standards. Driven by these improvements, group net profit excluding foreign exchange impact increased by 8% during the first quarter of 2019.
“We remain focused on providing reliable connectivity and innovative products to our customers and are proud to be at the forefront of the global 5G revolution.”
Ooredoo Group chief executive officer Sheikh Saud bin Nasser al-Thani said, “A major highlight for the quarter is the recovery in Indonesia, our second biggest market in terms of contribution to revenues, from the negative impact of the SIM card registration regulation in 2018. In Q1, 2019, Indosat Ooredoo saw the return of both top and bottom line growth, with revenues up 2% and EBITDA up 10%, a clear indication that our refreshed strategy and our new leadership team are able to navigate the changing market landscape in the country.
“In Kuwait, we were able to increase our EBITDA margin to 31%, supported by a healthy 13% increase in our customer base, further improved efficiencies and increased service revenue. In Myanmar, our customer base increased by 20% despite the entrance of a new player in the market. In Tunisia, we strengthened our position as the Number 1 customer market share telecom player and in Algeria; we remain on track with our 4G strategy with increasing data usage.
“Looking forward towards the remainder of the year, we will push ahead with our digital strategy, whilst effectively managing our costs and overheads to support the growth of our business and long-term shareholder value generation.”