Abu Dhabi, March 22, 2018: At Etisalat's annual general meeting, held at the company's headquarters in Abu Dhabi, shareholders have backed the board's recommendation to pay full-year 2017 dividends of 80 fils per share. The AGM also approved the board proposed Buy-back program of 5% of the company's paid capital, representing 434.8 million shares, for the purpose of cancelling or reselling.
H.E. Eissa Al-Suwaidi and H.E. Eissa Abdul Fattah Kazim are appointed as Chairman and Vice President of Etisalat Group respectively. H.E. Hisham Abdullah Al Qassem, H.E. Mohammed Sultan Al Hamli, H.E. Saleh Abdullah Lootah and H.E. Mariam Saeed Ghobash were appointed as members of the Board of Directors. The seventh member will be announced soon.
The General Assembly of Etisalat elected four Board Directors to fill the Board seats un-assigned for the Government Shareholder The new members are: H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Mohd Sultan Bin Suroor Al Dhahiri, H.E. Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Bin Nasser Alserkal. H.E. Khalid Abdulwahid Hassan Alrustamani, H.E. Otaiba Khalaf Ahmed Khalaf Al Otaiba.
Etisalat Group net profit after Federal Royalty reached AED 8.4 billion, resulting in a net profit margin of 16%. Furthermore, consolidated EBITDA totaled AED 26 billion for 2017, resulting in EBITDA margin of 50%.
Statement of: Eissa Al-Suwaidi, Chairman, Etisalat Group
“Etisalat Group achieved positive performance in 2017 despite the rapid developments in the telecom sector as a result of the transition to the digital era and the unprecedented changes in the macroeconomic and geopolitical arenas in our footprint.
“As an industry leader, and as part of our natural progression, we are transitioning into a digital organization both internally and externally across our markets, albeit with different trajectories. Etisalat Group has led the transformation in the region by proactively responding to technological developments, and by adopting to the latest innovations and industry trends.”
Al-Suwaidi highlighted: “Under our new powerful digitally inspired vision, our operating companies will be working jointly to realize such a digital ambition that will maximize growth opportunities moving forward. Etisalat Group's vision captures its winning, transformative position as it will help re-shape the lives of consumers, accelerate the economic growth of businesses, and enhance the competitiveness of the markets where it operates.
“Today, by developing one of the best infrastructures in the world, Etisalat has supported in building a diversified and sustainable economy and will continue to be driven by UAE's vision that aims at making the country among the best in the world by the Golden Jubilee of the union. We are honored that Etisalat was able to contribute in realizing the aspirations of UAE's leadership when it comes to being at the forefront of the digital development in the region.
“For more than four decades, Etisalat has been able to meet the needs and expectations of millions of our customers across its footprint. Enhancing customer experience remains at the core of our strategy enabling us to launch innovative services and solutions making a positive impact on their daily lives.”
He added: “In 2017, Etisalat Group continued to achieve strong positive results with consolidated net profit after Federal Royalty amounted to AED 8.4 billion resulting in a net profit margin of 16%. While Aggregate subscriber base reached 142 million, 12.6 million of which are in the UAE representing YOY increase of 3%. Etisalat Group also continued to maintain its high credit rating.
“Etisalat Group continues to be a partner to the communities in countries it operates in by being committed to improving their lives with continuous contributions to local, regional and international development and humanitarian initiatives. In 2017, and under the ‘Year of Giving', Etisalat was active throughout the year with activities that gave back to various sectors of the society.
“Today technology has a major impact on the daily lives of people with our efforts focused on creating unique capabilities and improving competitive advantage through the interaction of technology and people. Etisalat worked on initiatives to target specific segments of the society. Maroc Telecom is an example of ICT integration in teaching and learning working alongside with the government implemented ICT initiatives across schools in Morocco. Our long-standing commitment to supporting good health was visible across our footprint such as Etisalat Misr's participation with World Health Organisation to provide free treatment to thousands of Hepatitis C patients,” explained Al-Suwaidi.
“Etisalat will continue to contribute to the country's progress and prosperity, both through the group's positive performance, advanced infrastructure, and contribution to national agenda, and by being a socially responsible corporate citizen who demonstrates the country values.
“Our geographic footprint today presents substantial opportunities and at the same time some challenges. Etisalat has always seen beyond the obstacles and acted diligently to protect the long-term interests of its shareholders and will continue its efforts to maintain a healthy business portfolio.
He added: “Today, we look at the future with confidence and optimism and are determined to build on solid ground to continue innovation and focus on driving digital transformation to take advantage of future opportunities that will enable us to add value to our shareholders and customers.
“I would like to thank the leadership of the UAE for their continued support to Etisalat Group and like to express my sincere appreciation to our customers for their unwavering confidence and our shareholders for their continued support and special thanks to Etisalat management team for their commitment and dedicated work that will drive us to move forward and continue our progress and success. ”
Statement of : Eng. Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, GCEO, Etisalat Group
“Our journey in 2017 has set the path for maintaining good performance while gearing the company, its customers and shareholders towards achieving successful digital transformation. Our continued investments in next generation technologies, open innovation, and our entrepreneurship across all fields were the levers that allowed us to reach this far.”
Al Abdooli highlighted: “Our achievements in 2017 are a clear indication that we remain in a strong position, and represent the outcome of our sincere efforts and focused strategies. We were able to deliver consolidated revenues of AED 51.7 bn and consolidated net profit of AED 17.45 Bn representing 3% increase YOY before federal royalty. Despite the global economic challenges, such performance and accomplishments has helped Etisalat to stand out as the most valuable brand in the Middle East with a brand value of 7.7 Bn USD, which was the outcome of many qualities and core competencies that underpin our success, and the ultimate translation of all our achievements and the lasting associations that we leave behind in people's minds and hearts.
“Etisalat has launched a new bold vision and an associated corporate strategy to maximize shareholder value in light of the ongoing evolution within the telecom sector and the challenging macroeconomic and geopolitical situations exhibited in some of its operating markets. From the slowdown of GDP in certain countries to devaluation of some currencies, the circumstances remain challenging, yet we continue focus on our balanced and healthy portfolio.
“Etisalat's footprint today is spread across 16 countries serving 142 million subscribers in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. And while our operating companies differ in the level of their digital maturity, we believe in our ability to transform internally and to elevate the digital capability across all markets organically. Such effort will go hand in hand with our strategic imperative of solidifying our position in all operating markets aided by superior network, strong core business, and innovative new revenue streams,” said Al Abdooli.
“Moreover with the acquisition of 4G license in Egypt via Etisalat Misr, we are now offering 4G services in the majority of our operations. We foresee such investments as foundational in our digital journey and a solid testament of our plans to make technology available to our customers.
“Launch of swyp, which is the new youth digital platform in the UAE, was an important acknowledgement of the major shift in consumer behaviours and a declaration of the importance of the new tech savvy generation, the millennials. With a complete new customised digital platform and substantial value, we managed to offer a unique proposition in a digital, hassle free approach to such a growing segment.
He added: “And while talking about 2017, it would be hard to miss the new game changing developments in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, which we didn't overlook and considered primitively in various trials, as we pioneered a dedicated strategic program with prime focus on assuring that Etisalat capitalizes such technology for the best interest of business and customers. Such a move will support our digital transformation and is believed be to promising on the longer term.
“Etisalat's belief of the importance of open innovation and the need to elevate the innovation level in the surrounding ecosystem, was the drive behind establishing the ‘Etisalat Open Innovation Center' in 2017 marked another important milestone where we aim to showcase future technologies and solutions to our customers enabling them to make decisions that support in making the digital dream a reality.
He said: “Etisalat also aims to continue giving young companies a platform to engage with experts, have access to Etisalat's robust network and utilise our digital technologies to build viable products that create new revenue streams. Moreover, Etisalat's partnership with Dubai Future Accelerators, the world's largest government supported accelerator, was an important step in this direction, which paired top start-ups with government entities allowing them to build, test and deploy solutions for 21st-century challenges.
“Etisalat will remain committed to sustaining its technological leadership by investing in emerging and next generation technologies; Etisalat's investment in 5G technologies is a prime example that has gained relevance because it is considered a major enabler for the gigabit internet and the Internet of Things, which is expected to surge exponentially as a natural outcome of global adoption of connected devices. With its implementation, 5G will provide opportunities for economic growth and massive developments in the areas of education, employment, transportation and more.
“Within that context, we had a successful launch of the first 5G Ultra-Mobile broadband experience in the region. A pre-commercial 5G network was deployed in certain locations within the UAE. With the fastest 5G live trial reaching 71Gbps, this was another record in the region,” said Al Abdooli.
“At the end, I would like to thank the leadership of the UAE for their continuous support and for paving the way with their futuristic vision, hence, giving us a platform to excel and demonstrate our capabilities. The UAE's strong ties and relationships across our footprint have helped grow and expand our achievements taking it on a global scale. Appreciation is also extended to our dedicated employees, loyal customers, and shareholders who by trusting and investing in our growth have contributed at every stage in Etisalat Group's success story.”