In a major milestone for Vodafone Qatar, the company has reported its first distributable profits since its inception three years ago.
The $3.85 million (QR14 million) results are part of the third quarter financials that ended Dec. 31, 2012. The company says that once it achieves such profits for a full financial year, it will be able to pay a dividend to its shareholders.
UPDATE: Vodafone has clarified that it still posted a loss of QR25 million in the nine-month period, and an overall net loss of QR327 million in the same period.
Vodafone, which ended Qtel’s domestic monopoly in 2009, also passed the 1 million subscriber-mark last month.
In a statement, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Steve Walters, said:
“The third quarter is seasonally very strong for Vodafone Qatar. Achieving 1 million Customers enabled a 15 percent improvement in revenue over the quarter, and with continued focus on costs, our EBITDA profits grew 56 percent. This achievement helped us to reach the crucial milestone of generating our first ever quarter of positive Distributable Profits.”
Over the past several quarters, Vodafone has slowly been narrowing its losses and gaining in subscribers, partly due to the expansion of its offerings, including postpaid services.
During its most recent second quarter, the company posted a loss in part due to rising expenses as it prepared to launch fixed line services. But the Vodafone Group at that time still extended a contract to manage its Qatar affiliate until 2018.
Under the new terms, the parent company takes a smaller percentage (3.5 percent instead of 5 percent) of Vodafone-Qatar’s revenues.
This new development indicates that increased competition between Qatar’s two telecom companies is on the horizon.
Also, ictQatar has promised Qatar residents that they will be able to switch mobile phone providers without losing their numbers by the end of this month, which may encourage more people to pick one provider instead of holding on to two mobiles.
Credit: Image courtesy of Vodafone Qatar on Facebook