Qtel AGM Approves 70 Percent Share Face Value Cash Dividend
The Annual General Meeting of Qatar Telecom (Qtel) QSC today approved the recommendation of the Board of Directors to issue a total annual cash dividend of QAR 7 per share. This represents 70 percent of the share face value.
Addressing the general assembly, His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, Chairman, Qtel, discussed the reasons for Qtel’s success in a challenging year, and underlined his confidence in the company’s strategy for growth and development.
His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah said: “2009 was a year of clear achievement for both Qatar and for Qtel. While the world experienced a profound economic crisis, Qatar continued to stride forward steadily, guided by the wisdom of its leadership and its clear vision for the future.”
“The directives of His Highness the Emir had a great impact on Qtel's business, reflecting His Highness’ eagerness to support national companies. In this regard, we would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to His Highness for issuing the Emiri directive to amend the license fees obligated by Qtel from 25% of its net profits to 12.5% as industry fees, effective 7th October 2007, the date Qtel's license to provide telecommunications services was issued, which will add QR 554 million to Qtel.”
The Qtel Group delivered a number of key strategic initiatives in 2009, including the launch of operations in Pakistan through its wi-tribe operation and the commercial launch of Wataniya Palestine.
The company delivered strong results in the face of new competitive challenges in Qatar and Kuwait. There was also strong progress in Tunisia and in Algeria, as the company grew its customer base and increased market share.
“We have been able to preserve our stability against competition in key markets such as Qatar, Kuwait and Oman. We were able to enhance the average returns in developing areas such as Indonesia, Algeria and Iraq. We also launched new operations in Palestine and Pakistan and are primed to launch in the Philippines,” said His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah.
“We are investing in the infrastructure that will develop our offering across all markets; we are also focusing on diversification and advanced services like the Broadband service which will realise high value for all our operations. This investment in infrastructure will support our position in the future, and ensure that our shareholders continue to enjoy consistent returns,” he added.
Consolidated revenue increased in 2009 by 18.2 percent to QAR 24.0 billion (FY 2008: QAR 20.3 billion). In the same period, net profit attributable to shareholders also grew, increasing 20.5 percent to QAR 2.8 billion (FY 2008: QAR 2.3 billion) and at 31 December 2009, the Group’s consolidated customer base stood at 60.53 million.
The balance across operations enables Qtel to see strong profitability in a challenging year. EBITDA performance in 2009 was healthy, increasing 15.1 percent over the year to QAR 11.3 billion (FY 2008: QAR 9.8 billion). EBITDA margin remained resilient during the period, standing at 47 percent (FY 2008: 48 percent). For the first time in the company’s history, more than 76 percent of revenues were earned outside of Qatar.
In parallel with the global development, Qtel has committed to continue to invest in growth and development within Qatar.
“One of the strongest sources of pleasure for all of us is that this distinctly Qatari business has become a global entity and at the same time has retained our abiding connection with Qatar culture and traditions,” said His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah.
“We believe that Qtel has a key role to play in supporting the national economy, and work to effectively contribute to the support of community social, cultural, sports, healthcare, charitable activities,” he announced.
The company emphasised its commitment to the process of Qatarization and highlighted its successes in this area. In addition, the company presented its 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility Report to shareholders at the AGM, which details the wide range of charities, social projects and community initiatives that the company supports.
“Our performance in 2009 was distinguished. We maintained our 2020 vision in terms of acquisition and stability of the markets we operate in. Qtel has truly become an international company, operating from the heart of Qatar,” concluded His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah.