Oman telco Nawras Q1 profit rises 14 pct

DUBAI, April 30 Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:15am EDT

DUBAI, April 30 (Reuters) - Oman's No.2 telecom operator, Nawras, reported a 14 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday as fixed line and mobile data revenue grew and earnings from international calls increased.

The firm, majority-owned by Ooredoo, made a net profit of 8.8 million rials ($22.86 million) in the three months to March 31, up from 7.7 million rials in the year-earlier period, according to a statement to Muscat's bourse.

It reported declining profits in 11 of the previous 13 quarters.

Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast Nawras, which ended Oman Telecommunication Co's (Omantel) monopoly in 2005, would make a quarterly profit of between 9.5 million and 9.79 million rials.

First-quarter revenue was 52.7 million rials. This compares with 48.2 million rials a year ago.

"The growth is driven by increases in both fixed and mobile data revenue as well as international voice revenue offset by a decrease in SMS (text) revenue," Nawras said in the statement.

Nawras had 2.43 million customers at March-end, up 8.9 percent from a year earlier. ($1 = 0.3850 Omani Rials) (Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Olzhas Auyezov)