Ooredoo Group continues to witness "strong demand" for its product and services, as demonstrated by the 3% increase in its customer base to 119mn during the challenging times, supported by strong customer growth in Indonesia and Myanmar

Driven by a “favourable” foreign exchange environment, Ooredoo Group’s nine-month net profit jumped 16% year-on-year to QR1.5bn, the global telecom company said last night.

Group revenue declined by 3% year-on-year to QR21.4bn in the nine-month period up to September, due to the Covid-19 pandemic impact, with a reduction in handset sales and roaming business as well as macroeconomic weakness in some of our markets. This was partially offset by growth in Indonesia.

EBITDA declined by 4% year-on-year to QR9.2bn in the nine-month period, impacted by lower revenues and higher cost of sales as well as challenging market conditions in Algeria, Kuwait, Iraq and Oman.

The company maintains its focus on digitalisation and cost optimisation, which is reflected in the strong EBITDA margin for the 9M and Q3 2020 periods.

Data revenues account for more than 50% of total revenue driven by Ooredoo's data leadership and digital transformation initiatives across the countries it operates.

Ooredoo Group said it has “healthy” cash reserve and liquidity levels to be able to “absorb the impact” of Covid-19 pandemic.

On the results, Ooredoo chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Thani al-Thani said, “Ooredoo Group has been fortunate to have a well-diversified business – across geography and customer composition – in addition to a strong balance sheet, which has helped us maintain resilience during these challenging times.

“We reported a group net profit of QR1.5bn for the first nine months of 2020, an increase of 16% compared to the same period last year. We have seen a positive trend of revenue growth in the vast majority of our markets when comparing the third quarter with the second quarter of 2020.

“Digital transformation continues to be a key value driver for our business. Our leadership in this area enabled us to seamlessly respond to the new operating environment and serve our customers in a safe and convenient way, in spite of the movement restrictions. We expanded our customer base with the launch of new products such as Ooredoo Oman’s mobile wallet, Pay+, and Asiacell’s new mobile app, which has become the most downloaded app by a telecom operator in Iraq.

“For the communities we operate in, we launched a number of initiatives to provide support to medical centres through donation of medical equipment, and for students, we provided free data and e-learning platforms to support remote learning.”

Ooredoo Group chief executive officer Sheikh Saud bin Nasser al-Thani said, “Ooredoo Group reported a healthy set of results, despite challenging circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Group revenues for the first nine months of 2020 were QR21bn, down 3% compared to the same period last year, due to macroeconomic weaknesses in some of our markets that were partially offset by a robust performance in Indonesia.

Indosat Ooredoo reported revenue growth of 6% as it implemented its strategy of offering simple, relevant, and transparent products.

Ooredoo Kuwait experienced revenue growth in Q3 over Q2 2020, Ooredoo Algeria showed signs off an improved market situation in the recent months. Ooredoo Oman increased 5G coverage further, while Asiacell is preparing for the launch of LTE in 2021.

Ooredoo Tunisia improved its mobile data leadership position and in our home market in Qatar, we improved revenue sequentially and year on year in Q3.

“We continued to focus of optimising our cost base to absorb some of the pressure from the decline in revenues. For the first nine months of 2020, group EBITDA declined 4% to QR9.2bn, compared to the same period last year, due the decline in revenues. However, group net profit increased 16% during the same period, benefiting from FX gains in certain markets.

“Ooredoo Group continues to witness strong demand for its product and services, as demonstrated by the 3% increase in our customer base to 119mn during these challenging times, supported by strong customer growth in Indonesia and Myanmar.”