Batelco Group (Ticker: BATELCO), the regional Telecommunications Group with operations across 14 countries, announced its results for the twelve-months ended 31 December 2013 (the year), which were positively boosted by its overseas operations, which includes the Island Portfolio acquired from CWC (Cable & Wireless Communications) in a deal finalised in April 2013.
Financial and Subscriber Highlights
-Gross Revenues of BD370.6M ($983.0m) for the year;
-EBITDA of BD120.7M ($320.2m) representing a 33% margin for the full year;
-Consolidated Net Profit of BD43.6M ($115.6m) for the year;
-Island Portfolio acquired from CWC makes significant contribution;
-Continued diversification of Group revenues with 54% of revenues and 50% of EBITDA now sourced from markets outside Bahrain;
-Subscriber base of 9.0 million, an increase of 18% YoY. This includes 18% growth in mobile customers and 26% growth of the broadband subscriber base;
-Substantial cash and bank balances of BD198.6m ($526.8m);
-Earnings per share of 27.5 fils
-ecommended cash dividends of BD31.7m ($84.1m) for the full year, equivalent to 20 fils per share, marking ongoing ability to deliver value to shareholders; and 5% bonus share issue, awarding one extra share for every 20 shares currently held by the Company’s shareholders.
For 2013, the Group reported Net Profits of BD43.6M ($115.6m) from BD60.3M ($160.0m) for 2012, a decrease of 28% year over year and 40% quarter on quarter. Profits for the year were impacted by a number of one off expenses including those associated with the Islands Portfolio acquisition. EBITDA for the year was BD120.7m ($320.2m), representing a healthy margin of 33%, versus EBITDA of BD101.8M ($270.0m) and a margin of 33% for 2012. The increase in EBITDA was attributed to the positive impact of Batelco Group’s overseas operations and improved performance in the home market. Similarly, EBITDA increased by 3% compared to the third quarter of 2013.
The Group’s Gross Revenues stood at BD370.6m ($983.0m) for the year versus BD304.7m ($808.2m) in the previous year, an increase of 22% year over year and a 1% decrease since last quarter. In line with the Group’s continued diversification, 54% of revenues and 50% of EBITDA are now generated from markets outside of Bahrain where the Group continues to focus on strengthening its performance and reach.
The Group ended the year with a strong balance sheet and financial position. As of 31 December 2013, net assets were BD593.1M ($1,573.2m) with substantial cash and bank balances of BD198.6M ($526.8m) and net debt of BD44.0m ($116.7m). In November 2013 Batelco commenced a buyback of its $650m 7 year Reg S bond offering, with BD14.9m ($39.5m) repurchased as of 31 December 2013. The bond buyback offers Batelco the opportunity to deploy excess liquidity in realizing interest savings and managing debt levels.
The Group also reported that the Board of Directors would recommend to the Annual General Assembly of Shareholders a full year cash dividend of BD31.7m ($84.1m), at a value of 20 fils per share, of which 10 fils per share was already paid during the third quarter of 2013 with the remaining 10 fils to be paid in cash following the AGM in March. In addition, the Board of Directors will also recommend a 5% bonus share issue, awarding one extra share for every 20 shares currently held by the Company’s shareholders.
Batelco Group Chairman, Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, announcing the 2013 financial results following a meeting of the Board of Directors on 28th January at the Group’s Bahrain Headquarters, said, “2013 was marked by strong cash generation and growing customer numbers accross the Group, mainly attributable to the inclusion of our new Island Portfolio businesses. Diversification has been central to our strategy for a number of years and we are very pleased to see our investments deliver in line with our expectations.” “We have been continuing over the year with our restructuring and cost rationalisation programme, announced in 2012. We look forward to reaping the benefits of this exercise which will help us to further strengthen our performance and financial results as we go forward,” he added.
“Our strategy and ongoing efforts to achieve operational excellence and growth ensures the Group provides shareholders with some of the highest dividend yields in our industry region wide. Accordingly, we are pleased to announce the Board’s recommendation to the General Assembly for a sound shareholder dividend for 2013. We are confident that the fruits of our acquisition, which have been accretive from the outset, will continue to help further bolster profitability and our ability to deliver the best value for shareholders,” Shaikh Hamad added.
Operational Review & Highlights
Batelco Group is very pleased with the transformation achieved over the past 12 months, since the announcement of its acquisition of a number of units from CWC which includes Dhiraagu (Maldives), SURE Channel Islands and Isle of Man (CIIM) and SURE operations in Falkland Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Diego Garcia (SADG).
In December 2013 the Group announced that it agreed with CWC to unwind the transfer of a 25% shareholding in Compagnie Monegasque de Communication SAM (“CMC”) from CWC to Batelco and accordingly CWC re-paid to Batelco the $100 million paid by Batelco to CWC upon completion of the original deal. The Group also announced that its proposed acquisition of Cable & Wireless (Seychelles) (“CWS”) did not receive regulatory approval.
Nonetheless, Batelco Group is very pleased with its purchase and as anticipated, the acquisition has had a very positive impact on the Group’s performance. The total subscriber base has grown to 9.0 million across the 14 geographies of the expanded operation, representing 18% growth year on year. It is planned to build on the current momentum by pooling of Group resources, technologies and expertise, to further enhance competitiveness and performance in all markets of operation. This includes reinforcing Batelco Bahrain’s market position at home, where Batelco retains the position of leading integrated communications provider.
Continued Growth of the Mobile, Broadband and Fixed Line Subscriber Base Mobile subscriber numbers grew 18% year over year and 2% quarter on quarter. This increase was supported by strong …
Wednesday, January 29- 2014 @ 7:23 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.