Abu Dhabi, April 10, 2017: Etisalat's shareholders today backed the board's recommendation to pay full 2016 dividends of 80 fils per share during the annual general meeting held at the company's headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
Key Financial and Developments Highlights for 2016
• Aggregate subscriber base reached 162 million.
• Consolidated revenues amounted to AED 52.4 billion and increased year over year by 2%.
• Consolidated EBITDA totaled AED 26.3 billion, resulting in EBITDA margin of 50%.
• Consolidated net profit after Federal Royalty amounted to AED 8.4 billion resulting in a net profit margin of 16% and increased year over year by 2%.
• Final dividend payout of 40 fils per share for 2016, representing a total dividend payout of 80 fils for the full year.
• Credit Ratings by agencies S & P Global and Moodys affirmed Etisalat Group's high credit rating at AA-/Aa3.
• The UAE ranked number one globally for the highest fibre network connectivity, with household penetration of 93.7%.
• Acquisition of the 4G Services license in Egypt, 3G in Togo, and universal license in Ivory Coast.
• Etisalat Group completed the sale of its shareholding in Canar Telecom in Sudan, as part of portfolio optimization.
• Launched a new Business Unit – Etisalat Digital that oversees the Group digital transformation agenda;
• Etisalat was the first in the region to conduct live 5G trials, and to launch a live and operational Telco Cloud infrastructure as part of its virtualization plans.
• Announced as Premier Partner for telecommunication and digital services for Dubai Expo 2020;
• Delivered integrated Smart City project Dubai Parks & Resorts, which opened in 2016;
• Etisalat launched commercially VoLTE service; featuring high definition voice and video browsing;
• Etisalat expanded its mobile commerce capability with the launch of its new ‘Etisalat Wallet' service in the UAE;
“The telecommunication industry never stands still and neither does Etisalat Group. We have witnessed unprecedented change in the forty years since our journey began. All services we enjoy today were only ideas in the making back in 1976, transitioning from simple wired voice and internet access services, into rich fixed offerings and total mobility solutions, a shift into ubiquitous connectivity that was aggravated by the proliferation of smart devices, a revolution that has commoditized connectivity and moved our industry into a new era.
“Throughout our journey, we have accomplished a renowned record of technological firsts; the same were only collateral to our sincere efforts to harness the power of technology in order to bring the best possible and the latest available to our customers. Only recently, we were one of the first few telecom operators in the world to conduct live 5G trials, driven mainly by our plans to enable the society of tomorrow that revolves around the Internet of Things.
“We are fully vigilant of the rapid changes in our industry and we are adamant to stay at the forefront by embracing the inevitable change; we are facing a digital shift that dictates the development of digital services and their associated ecosystems. A massive opportunity for telecom operators that brings new challenges but great benefit, digitization is the new universal game; it is the future that will bring larger value to our customers and shareholders.
“It is time to reflect on our activities in 2016, starting with our Group restructuring which has enabled us to review our operations and introduce effective improvements, including key steps towards our portfolio optimization and the expansion of licenses in selected countries. Moreover, and despite a global slowdown in economy, we have sustained our strong financial performance with AED52.4 billion consolidated revenues, AED 8.4 billion net profit after royalty, 50 percent EBITDA margin, and maintained our high credit rating. Meanwhile, Etisalat has been included in the international financial indexes attracting international funds. All of this will contribute positively towards asserting our position as a telecom leader.
“Etisalat plays an important role as one of the contributors to the national economy of the UAE, either directly through its solid financial performance and deployment of world class telecom infrastructure as key enabler for economic progress, or indirectly through its strong leadership position in the telecommunication and ICT sector; locally, regionally and internationally. As an example, Etisalat's continued investment in fiber-to-the-home has supported the UAE to remain a global leader in fiber optic connectivity. Moreover, Etisalat is fully aligned with the government ambitious agendas and is determined to sustain its position as the government-trusted associate, we are the Expo 2020 telecommunication and digital services premier partner, and will deliver far and beyond to support the UAE in realizing its 2021 vision.
“On a related front, we also continued our mission to enhance the lives of people and communities where we operate. As a responsible corporate citizen Etisalat Group is committed to securing the trust and loyalty of people in the communities we serve; we see ourselves as their partner, not just a service provider. In Egypt Etisalat has helped bring clean water to half a million people, along with many initiatives to promote education, health and the environment. This all contributes to securing long-term, sustainable success for Etisalat Group, especially amidst the challenges that the telecom industry is facing internationally. With the UAE declaring 2017 as the ‘Year of Giving' Etisalat will continue its support to the communities where we operate which reflects the aspirations of our generous leaders.
“As we look ahead, we see continued success for Etisalat Group, we will always assure a healthy portfolio that brings synergy to the group and value to the shareholders, we will capitalize on our great talent and distinguished assets to generate returns and deliver high quality products and services. Our focus is on the digital transformation, and we will steer all efforts towards enabling, delivering, and leading it.
“At the end, I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to our wise leadership, for their continuous support of Etisalat, represented by HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of the UAE, ruler of Abu Dhabi and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Finally, I would also like to extend my appreciation to our customers for their trust in us to deliver the latest technologies and innovations, and to our shareholders for their ongoing support, which is the main motivation that drives us to work harder to achieve a better future.
“2016 was another year to remember in Etisalat history, as we celebrated our 40th anniversary, we have taken bold steps to assure our group stays ahead at the edge of tomorrow. Evidently, our industry is shifting into a new era, we are witnessing a digital revolution that will transform the world as we know, it is the inevitable change that we should embrace in order to sustain our leadership moving forward.
“Etisalat was established in 1976 with fixed telephony services; it has evolved rapidly over the years, hence, creating one of the world's leading networks in one of the fastest growing economies. With many recorded firsts, we have positioned ourselves as the leading telecom operator in the UAE and the region. Our decision to grow beyond confined borders, by expanding operations outside the UAE market, was only natural in an industry that is facing mass convergence that has widened the spectrum of our competitors and complicated our operating models. We have created one family that brings together people with multiple backgrounds, languages, and cultures, from dispersed geographical locations, under one umbrella that is stronger because of its diversity, and bigger because of its dream.
“2016 was the ideal closure for four decades of success; we have focused on rationalizing our portfolio and restructuring our business, while delivering strong financial and operational performance. Our consolidated revenues grew by 2% year on year driven by strong performance of domestic operations and Maroc Telecom operations, we have maintained our high credit rating despite the disturbances affecting the global economy, and were included in the FTSE Russell Emerging Markets Index. We have also continued to invest heavily in the network of the future; by enhancing coverage and reach of existing networks, and by adopting, trialing, and rolling out next generation technologies as in IoT, VoLTE, and 5G.
“Today, Etisalat is serving over 162 million customers across its footprint, being governments, businesses or individuals, who are enjoying high quality services over outstanding networks, in addition to carefully designed solutions that enrich ordinary consumers' lives while addressing holistically the business needs of enterprises of all sizes. We strive to offer our customers superb experience levels and to surpass their exponentially increasing demands, and that is the driver for investing in bigger capacities and in networks that enable faster speeds and larger bandwidth. With the acquisition of 4G license in Egypt, we are now licensed to provide 4G services in 11 countries out of 17 countries we operate in. Our 5G trials are only paving the way for a new generation of wireless systems that will not only enable faster speeds, but will also facilitate the implementation of the Internet of things and will be able to accommodate the associated surge in digital content.
“We are excited to demonstrate our capability in mega and complex digital projects that support governments in providing smarter education, smarter health systems, smarter cities, and smarter entertainment, in addition to global events. Dubai Expo 2020 is a major example of the latter, in which Etisalat will be the event's premier partner for telecommunications and digital services, the same will support the UAE government in their long-term strategy to become the global destination for trade, business and development.
“As a Group, we are fully capable to lead in the digital arena, we have transitioned from a traditional telecom operator into an integrated ICT solutions provider, and currently we are solidifying our position as a digital leader. The same has inspired us to create a dedicated business unit called “Etisalat Digital”, for managing the group overall digital transformation agenda across our footprint. It is challenging yet interesting journey that will entail a transformation within the group itself to be able to cope with the necessities of the new era, which dictates the adoption of new agile and collaborative operating models, and to have richer, simpler and smarter products and services.
“Moreover, ‘Customer Experience' remains a key strategic pillar that predicates upon solid understanding of customer requirements; we aspire to service passionately and consistently across 17 countries, and to deliver an experience that further enhances our brand strength and its association to high quality, reliability, and innovation. As a Group, we believe in the importance of a well-integrated supply chain to enable the efficient delivery of supreme service levels, and that is why we are keen to engage with trusted partners and suppliers who share the same vision.
“Finally, and as we celebrate 40 years of feats and successes, we can only express our gratitude to the UAE leaders and government for their tremendous support, which has aided our expansion strategy because of the UAE's strong political, economic, and social ties with almost all countries in the world. We are committed to support the agenda of our country, which is all about being first, leading on a global scale and breaking records for the country's greater benefit.
“We are also thankful to our great employees, our loyal customers, and our trusted shareholders; we promise you another exciting decade in which the family of Etisalat Group will never cease to impress you.”