Kuwait’s Wataniya sees ’07 net profit up 20-25 pct

KUWAIT - Kuwait’s National Mobile Telecommunications Co. NMTC.KW (Wataniya) expects 2007 net profit to grow 20-25 percent compared with 2006, the company’s chairman said at a shareholders meeting on Saturday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sat 17 Mar 2007, 6:26 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:52 PM

Faisal al-Ayyar announced that he and four other members of the seven-member board were resigning after Qatar Telecommunications Co. QTEL.QA (Qtel) took over Wataniya this month in a $3.72 billion deal, the largest-ever acquisition by a Gulf Arab telecom operator.

“The company expects a net profit growth of 20-25 percent for 2007,” Ayyar told Wataniya’s annual shareholders meeting.

Wataniya, Kuwait’s second-largest mobile phone operator, posted a net profit of 73.2 million dinars ($253.4 million) in 2006, up 38.6 percent from 2005. Profit growth of 25 percent this year would give the firm 91.5 million dinars this year.

Wataniya’s mobile phone subsidiaries would contribute to the growth in profits, said Ayyar, who is also chief executive of Kuwait Projects Co. KPRO.KW, which led the consortium that sold a 51 percent stake in Wataniya to Qtel.

The firm’s Telecom Algerie unit will turn its first profits by the end of the year, he said. Wataniya runs mobile phone networks in Iraq, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and the Maldives.

New board members would be appointed on April 1 to reflect the change in ownership, Ayyar told shareholders.

Shareholders approved a 100 percent cash dividend, equivalent to 110 fils for each share held, which had been proposed last month. There are 1,000 fils to the dinar.

They also authorised the board to apply within 18 months to the Kuwait Central Bank for a buyback of up to 10 percent.

Shareholders approved a previously announced proposal to sell 4.58 million treasury shares, equivalent to 1 percent of the Wataniya’s capital, in whole or in part to Wataniya employees.

They also approved a proposal for the company to issue bonds, and asked the board to draw up plans for the purpose.

Shares of Wataniya closed were unchanged on Saturday. They are up 19.84 percent since the beginning of 2007.

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