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UPDATE 1-Gulf telcos Ooredoo, Wataniya post Q2 profit drops, Nawras soars
July 23, 2014 / 4:26 PM / in 3 years

UPDATE 1-Gulf telcos Ooredoo, Wataniya post Q2 profit drops, Nawras soars

* Ooredoo Q2 net profit 817 mln riyals, down 11 pct yr-on-yr

* Hit by Iraq conflict, Myanmar start-up costs

* Wataniya Q2 net profit 18 mln dinars, down 21.3 pct yr-on-yr

* Nawras Q2 net profit 9.9 mln rials, up 32 pct yr-on-yr (Adds Ooredoo detail, context; results from Wataniya and Nawras)

By David French

DUBAI, July 23 (Reuters) - Qatar’s Ooredoo reported a 11 percent drop in second-quarter profit on Wednesday as the telecom operator was impacted by the political situation in Iraq and start-up costs for its business in Myanmar.

The former monopoly, which operates in about 15 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a net profit of 817 million riyals ($224.4 million) in the three months to June 30, down from 923 million riyals in the year-earlier period, it said in a statement.

Two analysts polled by Reuters had forecast Ooredoo would make a quarterly profit of 544.2 million riyals and 623.3 million riyals respectively.

It is the third quarter in the last four in which Ooredoo has reported declining net profit.

In the three months to June 30, revenue dropped 3 percent year-on-year to 8.4 billion riyals as strong performances by its businesses in Qatar, Oman and Algeria were overshadowed by lower contributions from Indonesia, Kuwait and Iraq.

Iraq has been suffering from political turmoil in recent months after the Islamic State militant group seized large swathes of the country.

While it did not provide a quarterly breakdown, revenue from its Iraq unit, Asiacell, dropped 9.6 percent year-on-year to 1.6 billion riyals in the second quarter, according to Reuters calculations based on financial statements.

Ooredoo was awarded a licence for Myanmar in February and the firm has paid the first instalment towards this, it said in the statement without elaborating. It plans to commence operations in the Asian nation in the third quarter, it added.

The firm said it had 93.9 million customers across the group at the end of June, up 2 percent on the same point of 2013.

WATANIYA

Wataniya, Kuwait’s No.2 telecom operator, reported a 21.3 percent decline in second-quarter profit as revenue slumped in its home market as well as Tunisia and the Palestinian Territories.

The firm made a net profit of 18 million dinars ($63.7 million) in the three months to June 30, down from 22.9 million dinars in the year-earlier period, according to a separate earnings statement to its parent firm.

An analyst at EFG Hermes forecast Wataniya would make a quarterly profit of 20.19 million dinars.

The decline in profit came despite a year-on-year increase in the second-quarter in revenue - which grew 4.2 percent to 196.7 million dinars - and subscribers - whose numbers climbed to 21.6 million from 19.6 million at the end of June 2013.

But the revenue growth hid discrepancies, as while earnings in Algeria grew 22.8 percent in the first half of the year, it fell away in Tunisia (down 5.3 percent), the Palestinian Territories (down 4.1 percent) and in Kuwait (down 19.1 percent). It did not provide a quarterly breakdown.

Oman’s No.2 telecom operator, Nawras, reported a 32 percent jump in second-quarter profit as it made more money from both its fixed line and mobile data operations.

The firm made a net profit of 9.9 million rials ($25.7 million) in the three months to June 30, up from 7.51 million rials in the year-earlier period, it said in a bourse filing in Oman.

Nawras had reported declining profits in eight of the previous 10 quarters.

A Gulf Baader Capital Markets analyst forecast Nawras would make a quarterly profit of 9.20 million rials.

$1 = 3.6407 Qatar Riyals $1 = 0.2825 Kuwaiti Dinars $1 = 0.3850 Omani Rials Editing by Olzhas Auyezov, editing by David Evans

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