France Telecom Mobile Liban (FTML), which markets Lebanon’s private cellular operator also known as Cellis, recently published its balance sheet showing a net profit of $38.48 million in 1999, up 5.1 percent over the 1998 figures. Gross revenues rose 26.9 percent to $283.7 million.
FTML declared in March that cellular phone usage in Lebanon dropped from an average of 750 minutes a month per subscriber in 1998 to an average of 488 minutes in 1999. This drop is related to the new taxes imposed last year, according to a report by the Lebinvest financial institution.
In April 1999, the government raised the call rate per minute to 12.5 cents, from 7.79 cents, in order to generate more revenues for the treasury. As a result, dues paid to the government rose by 43.3 percent to $103 million.
During the past five years, the firm’s total profits reached $64 million on revenues of $837 million, while aggregate investments amounted to $366 million.
France Telecom Mobile International owns 66.7 percent of Cellis and a group of local investors, the Mikati Group, owns the other 33.3 percent. Together, they form the FTML joint venture, incorporated in August 1994 with a capital base of $30 million.
Marketed under the name of Cellis in May 95, the company’s cellular phone services have known a rapid growth, presently serving approximately 350,000 subscribers. The company provides a national network, with an outdoor coverage of over 95 percent and an indoor coverage of over 80 percent in Greater Beirut and in major cities.
Ericsson, Alcatel and Siemens are Cellis’ primary suppliers of technology. — (Albawaba-MEBG)