Batelco will continue to seek a major acquisition this year as part of its strategy of maintaining a sustainable a revenue and profitability stream intact in 2011, Company’s Group CEO said.
Batelco Group CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos during a post annual results press briefing reiterated his company’s investing in a running business instead of in new license which according to him would not yield financial benefits for the company’s shareholders.
Peter, who was joined by Batelco Group HR General Manager Shaikh Ahmed Al Khalifa, Group GM Media Relations Ahmed Al Janahi and newly appointed Chief Executive Bahrain operations Rashid Abdulla, said that any conducive opportunity for acquisition in the MENA or other growing markets would attract Batelco’s attention.
The Batelco Group CEO said that acquisitions remain high on the Company’s agenda for 2011.
“We had hoped to increase our footprint in 2010 but the right opportunity did not materialise. To realise further growth and diversify our revenues, we need to increase our scale and invest in companies that are already established but still offer growth in their markets or in new start ups ready to launch. Looking to acquire now licenses is not an option that we are considering.”
Batelco, he said, has a zero debt balance sheet and $120 million cash in hand and the company is in a position to go for acquisition at any time.
Earleir, Batelco reported gross revenues of BD340.3 million and net profit of BD86.8 for 2010, a decrease of 17.4% over 2009.
Batelco Chairman Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa announced full year results for the period ending 31 Dec 2010 following a Batelco group board meeting held at Hamala Headquarters last week.
Despite a largest employer and the largest investor in Bahrain as a telecom operator, Batelco’s profitability is shrinking due to stiff competition and regulatory constraints.
“We have had a very professional working relationship with the TRA and will continue to adhere to its all requirements. We need to see the approval of Batelco’s requests to launch the new products in the markets but we are only allowed to launch only one product every six months,” he said.
“Somehow, this approach towards Batelco, is not producing results for our customers, shareholders and investors. The other two mobile operators are announcing new products frequently and Batelco is awaiting for some approvals for the last 12 months. In such situation you just can’t sit idle and the company’s focus will be on its operations in the seven countries as well as seeking opportunities through acquisition,” he explained.
The Batelco Chairman said while group ended 2010 with an impressive customer base of 9.2 million subscribers across its seven operating markets, the Group’s annual financial results were affected by the decline of market share in Bahrain and by its share of expected losses for its start-up operation S Tel (India), which has just completed its first full year of operation.
“In spite of tremendous growth in customer numbers group-wide and strong results from our subsidiary Umniah, we continue to be impacted in Bahrain by increasing competition and regulatory decisions which limited Batelco’s growth in a heavily saturated market,” Shaikh Hamad quoted saying while announcing the annual results last week.