News in brief.
Egypt's Orascom Telecom on Tuesday posted second-quarter net profit up 38 percent at $111.8 million, the lower end of forecasts, and said it saw "only timid signals" of economic recovery in its markets.
The regional Arab mobile operator said it had more than 84 million subscribers by the end of the quarter, compared with more than 80 million at the end of March.
Blended average revenue per user was $6.0 in the second quarter compared to $5.8 in the first quarter, on revenue of $1.281 billion.
Five analysts had forecast net profit in a range of $108 million to $165 million on revenue between $1.235 billion and $1.449 billion.
OT Chairman Naguib Sawiris noted a stronger second quarter after a weaker performance in the first three months, pointing to higher margins due to reductions in operating expenses.
The company reported strong performances in its subsidiaries in Tunisia, Bangladesh and Egypt, where it shares ownership of Mobinil with France Telecom.
"Nevertheless, the economic environment in which we are operating is still challenging and we see only timid signals of economic growth returning," Sawiris said in a statement.
Earnings before interest, taxation, amortization and depreciation (EBITDA) was $572.6 million, almost identical to the $573 million previously stated for the second quarter of 2008. The EBITDA margin was 44.7 percent, up from 43.9 percent in the first quarter and at the top end of expectations.
ARPU in Tunisia jumped 15 percent in dollar terms compared to a year earlier while subscriber numbers rose 13 percent. Bangladesh grew even more, though from larger subscriber numbers and a smaller spend per user.
"The subscriber numbers are good," said Ahmed Adel, a telecom analyst at Naeem. "On revenue, despite being negative year-on-year, it has held well in the economic situations in the markets they are operating in."
The company's profit had dipped sharply in the first quarter, in part due to currency devaluations in key markets including Algeria, Pakistan and Tunisia which have stabilized in recent months.
In addition to these markets, Orascom operates in countries as diverse as Egypt, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and North Korea. --Reuters
Melrose Resources H1 profit falls, ups FY output view
Melrose Resources Plc reported a lower first-half profit as revenue fell due to very low commodity prices and some planned stoppage of production in Bulgaria, but raised its full-year production forecast.
Production levels from its existing fields and new Egyptian developments for the first half have been ahead of expectations, the British oil and gas explorer said on Wednesday.
The company's new projects in the Western Black Sea should generate a material uplift in both reserves and production in the short to medium term, it said.
"In the mean time, our core assets are performing well and this should lead to improved results in the second half of the year assuming the oil price remains at reasonable levels," Executive Chairman Robert Adair said in a statement.
Melrose posted a pretax profit of $19.8 million for the first half, compared with $134 million a year ago. Revenue fell 58 percent to $97.5 million.
The company raised its full-year production forecast to 37.5 Mboepd from 34 Mboepd on a working interest basis.
For 2010, Melrose expects production of 40.0 Mboepd on a working interest basis, reflecting a full year of production from its new Egyptian developments and also contributions from the planned Kavarna and Kaliakra developments in Bulgaria.
Melrose Resources shares closed at 353 pence on Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange. --Reuters
Eni starts output from Egypt gas field
Italian oil and gas group Eni SpA has started gas output from the North Bardawil field in the Mediterranean offshore Egypt, the company said on Tuesday.
The field was expected to produce up to 2.7 million cubic meters of gas a day, or about 17,000 barrels of oil equivalent, of which 6,000 barrels is Eni's share, Eni said in a statement.
Eni's operating unit in the country, Ieoc, has 60 percent of the project and KUFPEC Egypt Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration, the remaining 40 percent.
The project is operated by Petrobel, a joint venture between Ieoc and Egypt's EGPC (Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation). --Reuters
Public banks encourage foreign currency deposits
Public banks, mainly National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr, have been encouraging foreign currency deposits despite the previous notion of moving away from the dollar as a value of store.
Growth rates have been ascending up from 1.8 percent at the beginning of the year, up to 6.5 percent, and now at their pre-crisis rates of 9 percent. --Al-Mal
Cotton ginning companies ask to raise prices
Five cotton ginning companies have sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Trade and Industry requesting to raise the price of cotton kantar from LE 28 to LE 45.
They also requested fiscal endowments from the government to be able continue operating.
The list includes Delta Cotton Ginning and El-Wadi for Cotton Ginning. --Al-Mal
Eye on the market
Orascom Hotels and Development posted a net income of LE 254 million, a 2.2 percent decrease in the first half of 2009 compared to the same period last year, the company said in a statement.
Shorouk for Modern Printing and Packaging recorded a net profit of LE 9.22 million, versus a net profit of LE 11.3 million in the comparable period last year.
Al Arafa for Investment & Consultancies (Arafa Holding) will sell 10 million treasury shares during the period starting Aug. 25 until Sept. 24, the company said in a statement.
Daily NewsEgypt 2009
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