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Thursday, July 24, 2008

57% drop in GP's operating profit in six months

The country's largest mobile phone operator Grameenphone's (GP) operating profit dropped by 57 percent in the first half of the year 2008 compared to the same period of the last year, mainly due to a significant amount of money it had been fined by the telecom regulator.

Grameenphone added 2.5million customers during the April -June period in 2008, but a 36 percent downfall of monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) also helped the company's operating profit to reach 329million Norwegian Krone (NOK) from NOK758milion a year earlier.

In the second quarter ended on June 30, 2008, Grameenphone's operating profit stood at NOK40million, which was NOK335million by the end of June 2007.

The half yearly performance in terms of revenue earnings also saw a negative trend. The company's revenue dropped by 2 percent in June 2008 to NOK 2247million compared to NOK2307million in June last year. (NOK 1= BDT 13.20).

With having 20.31 million customers by the end of June 2008, the company is still the No 1 among the 6 mobile operators in the market.

According to its Q2 financial report (April -June ) posted by Telenor, Grameen's majority stakeholders, Grameen's market share also came down to 47 percent by the end of June 2008 from around 50 percent a year earlier.

In the three months to June 30, Grameen's EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) margins had decreased by 43 percent to NOK 304million from NOK540million a year earlier.

"EBITDA margin decreased primarily due to one-time effects related to accrual of approximately NOK 150 (Tk200crore) million for a potential compensation for Grameenphone's involvement in international call termination through VoIP before February 2007 and a contribution of approximately NOK 18 million to Lawful Interception Compliance initiated by BTRC, compulsorily to be ?nanced by all operators," the Telenor report said.

Norway's Telenor owns 62 percent of the company, which launched operation in 1997, with the balance 38 percent being held by local Grameen Telecom.

The company officials said it put NOK150million (Tk200crore) as compensation, likely to be paid to the telecom regulator, which ultimately showed the poor operating profit.

Grameenphone may pay Tk250crore to Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for the company's involvement in illegal international call termination through VoIP. The BTRC earlier imposed Tk168crore fine to the company for the same reason.

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