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Batelco Grows its Customer Base to 6.4m Customers Delivering Steady Growth whilst Diversifying Operations

Batelco Grows its Customer Base to 6.4m Customers Delivering Steady Growth whilst Diversifying Operations

Chairman Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al KhalifaGroup CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos 2010

Manama, Bahrain: Batelco Chairman Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa announced net profit for the Group of USD 64.5 million (BD 24.3 m) and gross revenues of USD 227.8 million (BD 85.9 m), at Batelco's Group Board Meeting held on April 21st at Batelco's Hamala Headquarters.

"Whilst net revenues grew by 4.0% year-on-year across all our operations from data, mobile and fixed services  as expected, funding our start-up operations reduced our net profit by 7% to USD 64.5 million (BD24.3m) resulting in earnings per share of  16.9 fils," commented Shaikh Hamad.

"In Bahrain, our priority remains focused on delivering better service, innovation and best value to our customers. To do so Batelco continues to invest in the Kingdom's infrastructure, in new technologies and in the development of innovative products and services. We have invested twice as much in Bahrain in Q1 2010 versus Q1 2009 to expand our fixed and mobile infrastructure, and we will continue to invest significantly throughout 2010," he added.

Batelco Group Chief Executive Peter Kaliaropoulos said that Batelco continued to deliver strong operating profits and steady revenue growth whilst managing its costs, ending the quarter with 5% EBITDA growth and 7% growth in its Operating Profit versus the same period in 2009.  

"We offered guidance to our shareholders in January 2010 that, whilst we expected growth in revenues and operating profit, funding the growth of our start-up operation in India would reduce our year-on-year net profit. Batelco Group Q1 results are in line with such market guidance," said Mr. Kaliaropoulos.

"Despite increased competitive activities and new companies entering the market in Bahrain and Jordan, we are delighted that overall we have grown our customer base to a total of 6.4 million at the end of Q1 and grown our net revenues by 4% to USD 177.2 million (BD 66.8 m) year-on-year. This 35% growth in our customer base compared to the same period last year resulted from increases in mobile and broadband customers across every market, including over a million customers in India," explained Mr. Kaliaropoulos.

"Furthermore, whilst investing in infrastructure, sales, marketing and customer care initiatives, we have also been implementing efficiency and productivity initiatives and as a result our EBITDA has grown by 5% and Group Operating profit grew by 7% to USD 73.7 million (BD 27.8m)."

Batelco's operations outside Bahrain contributed 32% of revenues and 22% of EBITDA in Q1 2010.

"Solid performances from our overseas operations have seen our mobile subscriber base increase to 6.0 million, a figure which has been particularly enhanced by the unprecedented success of S Tel, Batelco's joint venture operation in India," Mr. Kaliaropoulos continued.

"Atheeb, delivering broadband and voice services in Saudi Arabia under the GO brand, continues to make impressive inroads as a new entrant in Saudi Arabia."

Mr. Kaliaropoulos also stated that Umniah in Jordan now has 1.65 million mobile subscribers, representing 26% share of the mobile market in Jordan. Umniah's WiMAX and ADSL customer base has also increased to a total of 19,000 customers.

"We are also particularly pleased with the success of our current marketing campaigns in Bahrain in view of STC's launch in the market. We have rolled out new products and services which are offering great value to our mobile and broadband customers," added Mr. Kaliaropoulos.

"Our SimSim customers are now benefitting with discounts of up to 92% on international call rates using our prepaid VoIP service. Prices are as low as only 15 fils per minute, one of the best rates in the market. SimSim customers are also benefitting with up to 25% extra credit and / or extra validity of their service each time they top up their mobile credit. Our postpaid customers have new packages to choose from including the Super 30 which features 3000 free call/video minutes, 100 free SMS/MMS's, free local calls to all networks on Fridays and reduced rates for any additional local calls in excess of the 3000 minutes."

"Additionally, in Bahrain we are the only company which offers a choice of 8 Broadband packages for consumers and 9 options each for businesses and educational establishments, with speed of up to 16MB and unlimited download capability. On the mobile side, our delivery of up to 21MB coupled with a choice of voice & data package options, provides our mobile broadband customers with a first rate service whilst on the go."   

Mr. Kaliaropoulos further elaborated by saying that Batelco's business focused communications solutions, delivered in partnership with some of the world's leading ICT organisations are unmatched in the Kingdom of Bahrain and crucial for companies in adapting to their customers' changing needs.

"Our strategies in the enterprise market directly support the vision of Bahrain's Economic Development Board in making the Kingdom of Bahrain a centre of ICT excellence in the region."

Batelco Chairman Shaikh Hamad continued by saying that Batelco had entered 2010 focused also on several philanthropic initiatives.

"We have begun 2010 the same as every year, fully committed to reaching out to the people of the Kingdom of Bahrain and supporting them via our Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.

 "We have paid out approximately BD200,000 in the first quarter in sponsorships and donations to health, education, sports and cultural initiatives," he said.

Shaikh Hamad continued to say that thanks to the Company's sound reputation for reliability built up over decades, its comprehensive range of products and services for all segments of the market and with the tremendous support of Batelco's dedicated employees, Batelco is strongly positioned to maintain its lead in the Bahrain telecoms market.

"In a market with some of the highest penetration in the world for mobile and broadband services and facing new competitors, Batelco remains focused on serving customers' needs, on innovation and on operational excellence. Our customer focus and lower operating costs will create a sustainable competitive edge for our brand in the future," concluded Mr. Kaliaropoulos.

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