UPDATE 1-Bahrain's Batelco first quarter net profit rises 8 pct

Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:52am EDT

* Q4 profit 14.5 mln dinars vs 13.4 mln dinars a yr ago

* Q4 revenue 97.6 mln dinars vs 71 mln dinars a yr ago (Adds reason for profit rise, historic performance)

By Matt Smith

DUBAI, April 30 (Reuters) - Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) posted an 8 percent rise in first-quarter profit on Wednesday as the operator added more domestic subscribers and revenue grew following its largest ever acquisition last year.

The former monopoly, which had reported declining profits in 16 of the previous 18 quarters and went nearly a year without a permanent chief executive, made a net profit of 14.5 million dinars ($38.46 million) in the three months to March 31, it said in an emailed statement.

This compares with a profit of 13.4 million dinars in the year-earlier period.

One analyst polled by Reuters forecast Batelco's quarterly profit would be 12.4 million dinars.

Batelco said its profit rise was due "to the ongoing positive impact of the Batelco's overseas operations as well as pleasing performance in the home market".

The company's first-quarter revenue was 97.6 million dinars - up from 71 million dinars a year ago - with 57 percent of its quarterly income from foreign operations.

Batelco, seeking to offset declining domestic profit and revenue, in April 2013 completed the $570 million purchase of Cable & Wireless Communications' Monaco and Islands Division, although some of this deal subsequently fell foul of regulators.

Batelco's subscriber base rose 19 percent year-on-year to 9.1 million at March-end. Of these, 905,000 were mobile subscribers in Bahrain, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

Its other investments include 96 percent of Jordan's Umniah, 27 percent of Yemen's Sabafon and a majority stake in a Kuwaiti fixed internet provider.

In April, Batelco hired Alan Whelan as chief executive, nearly 11 months after former CEO Sheikh Mohamed bin Isa al-Khalifa quit. The company was run by a committee of three board members until Whelan's appointment. ($1 = 0.3770 Bahraini Dinars) (Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Olzhas Auyezov and Elaine Hardcastle)

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