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Etisalat okays record dividend; foreign ownership up at 49%

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on March 18, 2021
Thanks to the group’s talented workforce and investment acumen, etisalat was able to deliver on its vision in the current macroeconomic climate.

(Supplied photo)

Decisions to help diversify investor base, add further value and bring liquidity and depth in financial capabilities

Telecom major etisalat’s annual general meeting approved a record high full-year dividend payout and backed a key proposal to enhance the ownership limit of non-UAE nationals to 49 per cent that will help diversify the investor base.

The company said in a statement on Thursday that the AGM backed the board’s recommendation to pay full-year 2020 dividends of 80 fils per share while approving a one-time special dividend of 40 fils per share in lieu of the cancellation of a share buyback programme.

Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer, UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs and Chairman of Etisalat Group, said the AGM’s approval to proceed with a record high full-year total dividend payout of Dh1.20 fils and landmark approval of 49 per cent ownership limit of non-UAE nationals would not only help diversify the investor base but also add further value to the company’s current shareholders as well as bring liquidity and depth in etisalat’s financial capabilities.

The AGM also elected four board members to fill the seats of Etisalat Group’s board of directors that are not reserved for the government shareholder. The elected members include Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Sultan Al Dhahiri, Abdelmonem bin Eisa Alserkal, Khalid Abdulwahid Hassan Alrustamani and Otaiba Khalaf Ahmed Al Otaiba. Etisalat Group also announced that the Emirates Investment Authority, as the government shareholder in the company, has appointed its representatives in the etisalat board. They comprise Jassem Mohamed Alzaabi (chairman), Essa Abdulfattah Kazim Al Mulla, Hesham Abdulla Qassim Al Qassim, Mariam Saeed Ahmed Ghobash, Saleh Abdulla Ahmed Al Abdooli, Mansoor Ibrahim Ahmed Almansoori and Michel Combes. The new board will begin their duties with the start of the new term of the board scheduled to begin on March 21, etisalat said.

Al Tayer said thanks to the group’s talented workforce and investment acumen, Etisalat was able to deliver on its vision in the current macroeconomic climate. “The unprecedented economic headwinds caused by Covid-19 have certainly demanded agility across our operations and we have demonstrated capabilities to quickly adapt to the present market conditions. Etisalat continued its focus on enhancing the core business and exploring new growth opportunities, while being well geared for the future with its digital capabilities and solutions.”

Hatem Dowidar CEO of Etisalat Group, said in 2020 consolidated revenues reached Dh51.7 billion while consolidated net profit after federal royalty amounted to Dh9 billion, an increase of 3.8 per cent compared to the previous year.

“Despite the challenges, a strong execution, an agile and resilient business model led to Ebitda reaching Dh26.4 billion with a growth rate of 0.3 per cent and a margin of 51.1 per cent.”

He said during the challenging times, etisalat advanced its efforts to digitally transform its business both internally within the company and externally to all customers. “This led to increasing our subscriber base by 3.6 per cent reaching a total of 154 million subscribers. This growth is central to our belief that the network and infrastructure have played a key role in empowering millions of customers during the pandemic.”

“In the new normal, telecoms and digital technologies have become the anchor of lives — be it remote working or virtual classrooms, our networks ensured that the world did not come to a standstill. Innovations in telecom and digital technologies have altered the fabric of life, becoming a necessity and a human right in a digitally-connected world.”

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

author

Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.





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