Manama, Bahrain: Batelco's Annual General Meeting took place on 23rd February at Batelco Headquarters in Hamala, with shareholders, company directors, senior management, employees and members of the press in attendance.
The minutes of the previous General Assembly, held on 24th February 2010 and the Board of Directors' report on the Company's operations for the financial year ending 31st December 2010, were read and approved.
The Batelco Group delivered steady year-on-year gross revenues for 2010 of BD340.3 million ($902.7 million) and net profit of BD86.8 million ($230.2 million), a decline of 17.4% over 2009.
The Board of Directors' recommendation of a total cash dividend of 45 fils per share for 2010 amounting to BD64.8 million ($171.9 million), representing 45% of the paid-up capital, was approved at the AGM. Batelco paid 20 fils per share as the interim dividend in July 2010 and the remaining 25 fils per share will be paid in March 2011.
Batelco Chairman Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said that Batelco's steady revenues were delivered in spite of the continuing impact of declining market share in Bahrain caused by increased competition and regulatory decisions which have limited Batelco's growth in a heavily saturated market.
"In addition to the reduced market share, Batelco Group's annual financial results were affected by its share of expected losses for its start-up operation S Tel (India), which completed its first full year of operation in 2010," he said.
"Our strategy to grow and diversify the group through our expansion programme continues to be successful and resulted in a 67% increase in Batelco's customer base, which reached an impressive 9.2 million across the Group's seven operating markets by the end of 2010," Shaikh Hamad added.
Focus on Future Success
Batelco Group Chief Executive Peter Kaliaropoulos said that Batelco's solid financial and operating results were delivered in undoubtedly the most challenging year for Batelco in the last decade.
"In spite of the challenges, we further diversified during 2010 and grew our business to over 9.2 million customers by the end of the year. We retained market leadership in Bahrain, Kuwait and Yemen. In Jordan we achieved almost equal second spot in the mobile market share whilst in India and Saudi Arabia, we achieved above expectations results after the first full 12 months of operations in the most competitive of market places."
However, the entrance of the third mobile operator in the Kingdom of Bahrain has had a marked impact on the highly penetrated telecoms industry and Batelco's operation in Bahrain. Additionally, establishing our Indian operation also affected our financial performance as such a start up venture is not expected to break even till 2014.
Mr. Kaliaropoulos said that Batelco's Operating Profit for 2010 of BD106.5 million ($282.5 million) declined by 4.7% compared to the previous year.
"Whilst Batelco Bahrain's operating profit was lower, stronger year-on-year results from Umniah reduced the overall decline in operating profit. Batelco's overseas operations contributed 34% of gross revenues and 25% of EBITDA. Group Free Cashflow of BD109 million ($289 million), representing a 75% EBITDA conversion rate, exceeded expectations.
"Our net profit of BD86.8 million ($230.2 million), a 17.4% decline versus 2009, included our share of S Tel's first year losses and the end of Sabafon's investment tax exemption in Yemen, a total of BD13 million adverse impact," he said.
Looking forward, Mr. Kaliaropoulos added that growing the Group's operations overseas and also growing customer numbers continued to be strategic priorities for Batelco.
"Retaining our leadership in the Bahrain market is also of key importance. We are committed to delivering a full range of communication services, world-leading products and unmatched customer care and in 2010 invested BD22 million ($58 million) in new wireless and fixed infrastructure in Bahrain. "
"In order to operate more efficiently and reduce our input costs we are leveraging our resources further to 'deliver more with less' through process re-engineering and innovation. To that end we will continue to make our back office systems and processes 'smarter' across the Group and continue to implement cost reduction programmes and restructure our operations driven by market conditions. Additionally, by reviewing procurement arrangements with our largest suppliers on a group-wide basis, we are striving to improve supply terms and service delivery," Mr. Kaliaropoulos elaborated.
Appreciation for all Stakeholders
Batelco Chairman Shaikh Hamad extended his gratitude to Batelco's shareholders for their continuous support towards the Board of Directors and Batelco's senior executives.
He also offered sincere appreciation on behalf of the Board of Directors and senior management to all Batelco's employees in Bahrain and abroad for their efforts during the past very demanding year.
"We anticipate that 2011 will also be a challenging year and I encourage all Batelco employees to retain their optimistic spirit and passion for success alive in facing competition across all the markets Batelco operates in," he said.
"We are very lucky to employ dedicated men and women in the Group's management teams across our operations. Their enthusiasm for success is unmatched and their efforts are very much appreciated by all members of Batelco's Board."
"I also offer thanks to our business partners and suppliers who contribute significantly to Batelco's operations."
"I am, as always, grateful to our customers for their loyalty that keeps us in our leading position in Bahrain, in spite of extensive competition. We are fully committed to delivering to our customers' first class products and services throughout 2011," added Shaikh Hamad.
"For 2011, we renew our resolve to enhance the lives of residents of the Kingdom of Bahrain everyday by delivering an unmatched basket of products and services that more than meets all their communication requirements. "
"We also reaffirm our commitment to strengthening the Batelco name and brand across all markets in which we operate and look forward to reaching and surpassing the 10 million customer mark in 2011," concluded Shaikh Hamad.Back