UAE. United Arab Emirates' Etisalat on Monday reported a flat first-quarter net profit, beating analysts' estimates as the telecoms operator's rising international revenue offset declines at home.
Etisalat, which operates in 17 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a profit of 1.81 billion dirhams (US$492.79 million)in the three months to March 31, down from 1.82 billion dirhams in the year-earlier period.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Etisalat would make a quarterly profit of 1.7 billion dirhams.
The former monopoly had reported declining profits in seven of the previous eight quarters.
Quarterly revenue was 8.2 billion dirhams, up 2 percent from the corresponding period of 2011. About three-quarters of revenue in the three months to March 31 came from Etisalat's home operations.
Domestic revenue fell 2.6 percent to 6.09 billion dirhams, but international revenue rose 21 percent to 1.88 billion dirhams.
The state-controlled firm's profits have slid as rival operator du, which ended Etisalat's domestic monopoly in 2007, won market share and Internet-based phone calls hit the high-margin international calls business.