Bahrain’s leading telecom services operator Batelco has reported strong revenues of BD7.4 million ($19.5 million) for the fourth quarter of 2019 an increase of 82 per cent from BD4.1 million ($10.9 million) for the corresponding period of 2018.
Net profits attributable to equity holders of the company for the full year 2019 was BD51.6 million ($136 million), up by 3 per cent from BD50.1 million ($132 million) in 2018, mainly due to the 4 per cent increase in operating profit and the BD28.4 million ($74.8 million) gain on the sale of Qualitynet in May 2019.
Total comprehensive income attributable to equity holders for Q4 2019 was reported at BD13.8 million ($36.3 million) an increase of 204 per cent from BD4.6 million ($12.1 million) for the fourth quarter of 2018. Total comprehensive income attributable to equity holders of the company is up by 30 per cent for the full year 2019 from BD43.3 million ($114.1 million) to BD56.3 million ($148.4 million).
Revenues for the fourth quarter in 2019 decreased by 1 per cent compared to Q4 2018 from BD104.4 million ($275.2 million) to 102.9 million ($271.2 million). Revenues for the full year 2019 were BD401.5 million ($1.05 billion), a decrease of 1 per cent when compared to BD405.9 million ($1.07 billion) of revenues in 2018.
Consolidated revenues have been impacted by the sale of Qualitynet, whereby the company contributed an additional BD11 million ($28.9 million) of revenues in 2018. However, revenues in the home market of Bahrain have increased by 5 per cent year-over-year boosted by revenues from fixed broadband, data communications and mobile services.
Operating profit for the quarter is up by 62 per cent to BD19.9 million ($52.4 million) from BD12.3 million ($32.4 million) in Q4 2018; while year-on-year operating profits increased by 4 per cent from BD72.7 million (US$192.8M) in 2018 to BD75.5M ($191.6 million) in 2019. The increased operating profits are mainly due to a reduction in depreciation and amortization charges of 6 per cent in 2019.
EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2019 stands at BD35.7 million ($94.1 million) compared to BD33.6 million ($88.5 million) in Q4 2018, representing an increase of 6 per cent. For the full year, EBITDA decreased by 1 per cent in 2019 from BD142.8 million ($376.4 million) to BD141.7 million ($373.5 million) retaining a healthy EBITDA margin of 35 per cent. EBITDA for the year was impacted by BD11.1 million ($29.2 million) voluntary employee retirement programme cost. Adjusted EBITDA for the year without the voluntary employee retirement cost is 7 per cent higher year-on-year, driven by the 5 per cent year-on-year reduction in operating expenses.
Batelco’s balance sheet remains strong with total equity attributable to equity holders of the company of BD473.1 million ($1.24 billion) compared to BD465.2 million ($1.22 billion) as of December 31, 2018, an increase of 2 per cent. Total assets of BD992.9 million ($2.6 billion) as of December 31, 2019 have increased 9 per cent compared to BD912.4 million ($2.4 billion) as of December 31, 2018. Net assets as of December 31, 2019 stand at BD513.4 million ($1.35 billion) compared to BD504.9 million ($1.33 billion) as of December 31, 2018, an increase of 2 per cent. The company’s cash and bank balances are a substantial BD175.5 million ($462.6 million), which reflects the interim dividend of 10 fils per share paid in August 2019.
The Board of Directors has recommended a full year cash dividend of BD45.7 million ($120.4 million), at a value of 27.5 fils per share to be agreed at the Annual General Meeting, of which 10 fils per share was already paid during the third quarter of 2019 with the remaining 17.5 fils to be paid following the AGM in March 2020.
The full set of financial results was announced by Batelco chairman Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Khalifa following a meeting of the Board of Directors on February 20 at Batelco Headquarters, Kingdom of Bahrain.
“I am pleased to announce strong financial results which is a result of effective implementation of strategic initiatives, robust operational performance and solid financial discipline. Delivering value for our shareholders is a priority for us and we are proud to announce improved earnings during the 4th quarter leading to increased EPS for the year,” Shaikh Abdulla said.
“2019 was a milestone year for Batelco,” Shaikh Abdulla noted. “In May, we announced the completion of Batelco’s legal separation process as part of Bahrain’s fourth National Telecommunication Plan, and the creation of an infrastructure company for National Broadband, remaining under the full ownership of Batelco. In October, the official launch of BNET B.S.C, Bahrain’s National Broadband Network was announced.”
“Having restructured our organisation following the separation of the company, we have embarked on a new journey to create a transformed Batelco for this new decade.”
“Our achievements in 2019 have provided us with a solid platform to move forward. We have a new and powerful strategy in place and strong teams which we are confident will allow us to seize market opportunities in support of our goals. We look forward to seeing the strategy executed in line with our vision, and are confident we have the right elements in place to drive growth and meet our shareholders’ expectations,” Shaikh Abdulla added. – TradeArabia News Service