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UAE telecom firms report decline in Q1 net profits

The United Arab Emirates’ two telecom firms on Wednesday reported declines in first quarter net profits due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

UAE giant Etisalat, the largest Arab telecoms firm, said its net profit for the year’s first three months was down 1.5 percent to $593.7 million, citing unprecedented market challenges amid the outbreak.

The smaller Emirates Integrated Telecom Co. (DU) said its net profit for the January to March period dropped by 21 percent over last year to $97 million.

Etisalat, in which the Abu Dhabi government holds a majority stake, has 150 million subscribers of whom 133 million are in Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and UAE. It also operates in several African countries.

“Etisalat’s performance in the first quarter reflects our agility in dealing with unprecedented market challenges and pressures facing the telecom sector globally,” chairman Obaid Humaid al-Tayer said.

Etisalat revenues on March 31 rose 1.0 percent year-on-year to $3.6 billion.