Orascom Telecom Holding has reported a near doubling in its 3rd-quarter profits to US$180.9 million, compared to $90.5 million in the same period a year ago. Revenues were US$1.29 billion in the quarter.
The total subscriber base approach 89 million, an increase of 12.1% over September 2008.
Third quarter revenues performance improved over the previous quarter in all major subsidiaries, with the exception of Pakistan where a slight devaluation of the currency and Ramadan negatively impacted revenues. Q3 09 was particularly strong in Tunisia, with revenues up 13.9% over Q2 09, and was also positive in Egypt and Bangladesh with single digit increases over the previous quarter. In OTA, revenues were flat over the previous quarter mainly as a result of increased competition and slower subscriber growth. It is worth noting that the Holy month of Ramadan took place entirely in the third quarter of this year with a negative impact on revenues.
Naguib Sawiris, Chairman and CEO of OTH, commented on the results: "The performance of Orascom Telecom in the first nine months of 2009 has seen an improving trend over the course of the year as local currencies in most of our key operations have stabilised against the US$, after the sharp devaluation of the currencies in Algeria, Pakistan and Tunisia. While the economic environment has improved in recent months the competitive environment remains challenging; in this context OTH has continued to perform well, although 2009 will be a year of slower growth than 2008, in line with our forecasts.
In the first nine months of 2009 Orascom Telecom continued to grow its customer base approaching the 89 million subscribers mark, a 12.1% growth over the same period of the previous year. Growth was particularly strong in Egypt, up more than 30%, in Bangladesh, up almost 20%, and in Tunisia, up almost 16%. In Pakistan overall subscriber growth was 4% lower than the previous year as a result of the substantial inactive customer base clean-up performed up to Q1 2009; since then growth has resumed and in the six month period spanning Q2 and Q3 2009 Mobilink achieved over 1.8 million net additions.
Growth in Algeria remained positive in Q3 2009 with a 2% growth over the same period of 2008. A significant contribution to customer base growth was also delivered by Telecel Globe, with subscribers rapidly approaching the 1.5 million mark, and North Korea based koryolink which counts over 69,000 subscribers as of September 30, 2009. The management contract of Alfa in Lebanon continues to perform strongly with subscribers approaching 1 million.
On the company's Canadian investment, Sawiris commented "Concerning our investment in WIND Mobile (previously Globalive Wireless) we are very surprised and disappointed by the CRTC decision that comes 14 months after the end of the AWS spectrum auction and a few weeks ahead of WIND Mobile's intended launch date, also in light of the approval received in March 2009 from Industry Canada confirming the compliance with the Canadian ownership and control rules. We will support WIND Mobile's management in its efforts to explore all avenues to obtain clearance to operate in Canada and launch operations at the earliest possible time in order to enable the Canadian consumers to benefit from a truly competitive market."