GP reports a flat second quarter

Rajeev Sethi, CEO of Grameenphone, speaks at a press meet at the operator's headquarters in Dhaka yesterday. Grameenphone

Grameenphone's net profit fell about 1 percent to Tk 509 crore in the second quarter of 2016 from a year earlier, due to voluntary retirement spending coupled with an advance fee for settling a claim by the National Board of Revenue.

The largest mobile phone operator offered 349 employees a voluntary retirement scheme during the April-June period, which cost Tk 94.8 crore.

In the same period, as part of a requirement to settle a Tk 450 crore tax claim, Grameenphone deposited Tk 45 crore or 10 percent of the sum to the NBR, said Dilip Pal, chief financial officer of the operator.

"Overall we had a very satisfactory quarter and a very good first half. Aggressive marketing and improved network rollout also forced us for a good result," he said at a press conference at the operator's headquarters yesterday.

Grameenphone made the profit from its total revenue of Tk 2,800.12 crore in the second quarter, which was 6.6 percent higher from a year earlier.

Data usage raked in Tk 320 crore, which is 12 percent of the operator's second quarter revenue. However, data revenue growth was 64.6 percent year-on-year, according to the operator's statement.

As of June, Grameenphone biometrically verified 5.26 crore SIMs out of its total connections of 5.73 crore. It also led the company to see a rise in its market share.

Though Grameenphone's second quarter was on the flat side, the first six months of 2016 were fantastic, said Rajeev Sethi, its chief executive officer.

Its total revenue during the January-June period stood at Tk 5,561 crore, up 8.1 percent from a year earlier.

"We are happy with the strong growth momentum in place."

Data continues to grow with healthy user addition and volume consumption, he said, adding 10,000 3G sites were rolled out to take the population coverage to 90 percent.

The voice revenue is also growing with encouraging minutes of usage.

"This will help Grameenphone maintain the momentum as we move forward," Sethi added.

The telecom market leader invested Tk 1,360 crore during the period for further rollout of 3G sites, 2G coverage and capacity enhancement for catering to higher volumes of data and voice. The investment pace will continue in the next six months too.

Earnings-per share of the lone listed mobile operator for the period stood at Tk 7.92, while it declared 85 percent interim cash dividend for shareholders.

The interim cash dividend represents 107 percent of net profits, showing that Grameenphone is going to use its retained earnings to pay dividends.

Traditionally, usage declines during Ramadan, but the situation was different this time, Pal said. Commenting on internet usage pattern, Sethi said people are mostly using Facebook. "This could possibly be one of the tools to bring more and more people on the internet."

Grameenphone traded between Tk 256 and Tk 261 per share yesterday before closing at Tk 258.2.

Sponsors hold 90 percent of Grameenphone, institutions 5.53 percent, foreign investors 1.81 percent and general investors the remaining 2.66 percent, according to data from the Dhaka Stock Exchange.


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