Mobily Slips Back into Profit

Saudi Arabia’s struggling mobile network operator, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) has posted its first profit following the write down of nearly USD1 billion of its previous earnings.

The company posted a modest profit of SR16.6 million ($4.43 million) for the first three months of this year — compared to an adjusted loss of SR44.5 million a year ago.

However, revenues fell to SR3.44 billion compared to SR3.66 billion a year earlier. The company attributed that to a decline in phone sales and a slowdown sales affected by customers fingerprint validation.

Last year, the company was forced to restate the previous 27 months worth of reported profits, downgrading them by SR3.63 billion. The move has lead to a number of suspects being referred for prosecution.

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Saudi Networks in Tower Asset Merger Talks

Saudi Arabia’s three dominant mobile networks are reported to be in talks which would see them spin off their tower assets into a single holding company.

Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Mobily and Zain are said to be in the talks, the local financial newspaper, Maal reported.

It is not yet decided if the tower holding company would be owned by the three mobile networks, or if they plan to sell off their eventual stakes, leading to the creation of a stand-alone entity.

Merging the tower assets and removing overlapping areas of coverage could reduce their network operating costs by around 70 percent, the local newspaper reported.

Beleaguered mobile network, Mobily has already announced that it would like to sell its towers, in a deal that could raise around USD1.5 billion.

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