(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, popularly known as etisalat, on Monday said its net profit dropped 0.5 per cent in first quarter on higher expenses.
The telecom firm's net income fell slightly to Dh1.81 billion in the quarter ending March down from Dh1.82 billion in the same period a year earlier. The median estimate of three analysts was for a profit of Dh1.7 billion, according to Bloomberg newswire.
In a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the telecom firm reported consolidated revenue rising two per cent to Dh8.205 billion in the quarter.
Dent in the earnings came from the operating expenses that rose to Dh5.05 billion in the quarter against Dh4.7 billion in same period a year ago.
As at March 31, 2012, telecom firm's assets fell Dh583 million to Dh41.12 billion compared to fourth quarter of 2011. The company spent Dh929 million on up-dating and improving its network in the quarter down from Dh1.225 billion in the same period last year.
Etisalat, which operates in 17 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, remained a cash rich firm in the UAE with cash and cash equivalents amounting to Dh11.5 billion in the quarter against Dh9.9 billion in the same quarter last year.
The telecommunications company recorded a drop in its mobilephone subscribers in the UAE to 6.93 million down from 7.43 million. Its fixed-line subscribers fell to 1.02 million at the March-end period from 1.13 million a year ago. However, the company reported sharp increase in its internet consumers that climbed to 780,000 compared to 490,000 in the same period last year.
"There is no change in the earning per share in the quarter against the same period last year, which is Dh0.23," the firm said. Etisalat has decided to close its operations in India after Supreme Court revoked 122 licenses in February in a corruption probe. The company also filed a lawsuit against the promoters of Swan Telecom in India.
The company shares fell 0.4 per cent to Dh8.63 in Abu Dhabi on Monday before the results were announced. The stock has lost 5.5 per cent this year compared with four per cent gain for the benchmark ADX General Index.