The Emirates Telecommunications Corporation – or etislalat’s – market value has touched an estimated $34.3 billion (Dh125bn), making it the 16th largest telecommunications firm in the world, said a top official of the company in Abu Dhabi.
Salem Ali Al Sharhan, Etisalat’s Chief Financial Officer, told a press conference that the company aims to be among the top 10 in the world by 2010.
Etisalat now has a presence in 16 countries with a total population of some 800 million, he added. The total subscribers of its services, both at home and abroad, number 63 million in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Sudan, Egypt and Nigeria, as well as the UAE, said Al Sharhan.
While total assets of the company rose to Dh52.4bn from Dh14.6bn, it has also been serious in discharging its social responsibility to the country by achieving a 44 per cent Emiratisation rate – 66 per cent in the senior and medium posts and 35 per cent in lower posts, he said.
The CFO said the corporation has a credit limit from several local banks of $3bn, which ends in July this year. Etisalat has used $750m of the total amount and is currently studying an extension of the period to be able to use the remaining amount.
Al Sharhan said statistics issued by etisalat have shown that the number of minutes used by customers from 2004 to 2007 reached some 1.1 billion, which meant an average of 2.3 minutes per customer per call.
Speaking about the competition, Al Sharhan said etisalat’s principles had not changed despite the introduction of a second service provider and added that the corporation’s strategy was to maintain a sizeable lead in the local market in all service categories.
He said income in 2007 rose by 31 per cent to Dh21.3bn against Dh16.3bn in 2006. Also, service income in 2007 went up by 65 per cent compared to the previous year, while net profit in 2007 reached Dh7.3bn against Dh5.9bn in 2006. Income from international operations formed 4.4 per cent of etisalat’s total income, Al Sharhan said.
After the UAE telecommunications market was opened for competition, etisalat was quick to restructure its operations by setting up three independent units, he said.
The first is etisalat UAE, which provides all of etisalat’s services, as well as internet and cable TV. The second, etisalat International, is responsible for all investments abroad and exploring opportunities in international markets. The third was etisalat Services, which concentrates on client service and etisalat’s projects in areas other than its main activity.
Al Sharhan added that mobile penetration in the UAE, at 152 per cent in 2007, is the highest in the region. For fixed lines the rate stood at 30 per cent, a three per cent increase in subscribers. Internet subscribers went up by 45 per cent in 2007; the number of connections was 875,000.
Etisalat rings in as 16th top telecoms firm