* Q1 profit 13.4 mln dinars vs 16.1 mln dinars a yr ago
* Q1 revenue 71 mln dinars vs 78 mln dinars a yr ago
(Write through, adds details)
By Matt Smith
DUBAI, May 13 Bahrain Telecommunications Co
(Batelco) reported a 17 percent drop in first-quarter
profit on Monday, due to tough competition in its domestic
Batelco, Bahrain's biggest telecom group, has now reported a
fall in profits in 11 quarters out of 12 and has seen its market
share eroded by rivals, such as Saudi Telecom affiliate Viva,
which launched in 2010 and slashed prices to woo customers.
As well as three conventional mobile operators, Bahrain also
has about 10 internet service providers and these may be allowed
to launch mobile services should they win a auction to sell
spectrum for next-generation networks.
"The decrease in profitability was mainly attributable to
competitive pressures continuing in Bahrain," Batelco said in a
Former monopoly Batelco said its domestic subscriber base
shrank by 2 percent in the first quarter compared to the
The group's deteriorating performance at home, where it
competes with Kuwait's Zain and Saudi Telecom Co
, has spurred it to expand abroad. The company
completed the purchase of Cable & Wireless Communications'
Monaco and Islands Division in April.
This deal puts Batelco in 10 new markets and will be
included in the company's results from the second quarter, it
Batelco made a net profit of 13.4 million dinars ($35.5
million) in the three months to March 31, down from 16.1 million
dinars in the year-earlier period.
Securities & Investment Co (SICO) forecast Batelco would
make a quarterly profit of 12.4 million dinars.
First-quarter group revenue was 71 million dinars, Batelco
said. This compares with 78 million dinars a year ago. Bahrain
accounted for 58 percent of quarterly revenue.
Chairman Sheikh Hamad bin Abdulla al-Khalifa said Batelco
was focused on preserving margins and strengthening cash flows
and the bottom line.
Batelco also owns Jordanian telecoms operator Umniah, 27
percent of Yemeni mobile operator Sabafon, minority stakes in
internet providers in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and is also active
($1 = 0.3770 Bahraini dinars)
(Reporting by Matt Smith; editing by Jane Merriman)