DUBAI, April 19 (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi-listed Etisalat reported a 7.6 percent rise in first-quarter profit on Sunday, with its acquisition of a majority stake in Maroc Telecom having helped to lift revenue by nearly a third and its subscriber base by a fifth.
Etisalat, which operates in 19 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made net profit of 2.18 billion dirhams ($593.6 million) in the three months to March 31, the company said in a statement, against 2.02 billion dirhams a year earlier.
Two analysts polled by Reuters had forecast that the Gulf’s No.2 telecoms operator by market value would post quarterly profit between 2.16 billion dirhams and 2.47 billion dirhams.
The United Arab Emirates’ former monopoly generated quarterly revenue of 12.91 billion dirhams, up from 9.9 billion dirhams a year earlier.
Domestic revenue rose 11 percent to 7.2 billion dirhams, while international revenue jumped by 69 percent to 5.6 billion dirhams.
The international increase was because of Etisalat’s consolidation of Maroc Telecom after it bought a 53 percent stake in the African operator for 4.14 billion euros last May, plus rising income from Etisalat’s operations in Nigeria and Afghanistan.
Maroc Telecom, which has operations in Gabon, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Mali and this year also acquired Etisalat’s subsidiaries in six African countries, reported first-quarter net profit of 1.32 billion Moroccan dirhams ($133.10 million) on Thursday, down 10.2 percent year on year.
Etisalat had 173 million subscribers at March 31, up 19 percent from a year earlier. ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirhams) ($1 = 9.9175 Moroccan dirhams) (Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Olzhas Auyezov and David Goodman)