• Board approves interim dividend of 40 fils per share for H1 2023
• e& to expand into Central and Eastern Europe through investment in majority stake in PPF Telecom
Abu Dhabi: e& today announced its consolidated financial results for H1 2023 and that it has signed a binding agreement with PPF Group (“PPF”) to acquire a controlling stake (50% + 1 share economic stake) in PPF Telecom Group’s (“PPF Telecom”) assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovakia. PPF Telecom is the telecommunications division of PPF.
e&'s consolidated revenues during the H1 2023 reached AED 26.6 billion a YoY increase of 1.1 per cent. Consolidated net profit recorded AED 4.7 billion while consolidated EBITDA reached AED 12.8 billion, resulting in an EBITDA margin of 48 per cent.
In the UAE, etisalat by e& recorded 13.9 million subscribers an increase of 5.1 per cent compared to the same period of last year, The Group’s aggregate subscribers reached 165 million, a YoY increase of 3.1 per cent.
H.E. Jassem Mohamed Obaid Bu Ataba Alzaabi, Chairman, e&, said: “e&'s performance during the first half of the year reinforces the resilience of our business model despite the challenging global macroeconomic environment. This was also the result of our teams' relentless efforts to remain committed to our vision and drive sustainable growth, making a positive change in the societies we serve while adding value to our shareholders.
Today we are also delighted to announce e&'s strategic expansion into the European market. With this move, we join forces with PPF to build and expand our international footprint in the attractive Central and Eastern Europe region and beyond. It is the next step of our transformation into a global technology group, offering e& multiple avenues to roll-out its leading suite of B2B and B2C digital products in the CEE with significant synergies.
The acquisition aligns with e&’s strategic ambition to accelerate international growth and diversify geographically. This represents an unparalleled opportunity to establish a strong presence and foster development within the dynamic CEE region. The PPF Telecom portfolio, spanning four countries, exhibits a well-balanced structure, underpinned by robust macroeconomic fundamentals and stable currencies. The countries of its operations are characterised by regulatory stability, healthy competition, and highly attractive returns, positioning them among the most promising in Europe. e& will consolidate more than 10 million subscribers from this acquisition post-closing.
We achieved remarkable progress in our strategic focus areas, supported by strong performance in our core telecom business, increased demand for our innovative digital services and solutions, and a commitment to deliver cutting-edge solutions that accelerate digital transformation in the communities we serve. During the period, we also made strategic investments and fostered partnerships that will drive our growth in the coming years, pushing us to seize new opportunities in the fast-evolving digital landscape.
In line with the UAE leadership's vision, we are committed to continuing progress and development and enhancing our confidence in the added value e& provides. We are resolute in our commitment to spare no effort in delivering cutting-edge technologies and world-class services that will not only shape the digital future but also turn the vision of sustainable socio-economic growth into a tangible reality. With the utmost dedication, we aim to play an instrumental role in fostering a knowledge-based economy, cementing our position as a driving force for innovation and progress.”
Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO, e&, said: “Over the past six months, we have demonstrated a strong sense of resilience and adaptability. Our relentless focus on excellence and innovation has allowed us to thrive in the dynamic landscape of the telecommunications and technology sectors, maintaining our growth momentum.
Our consolidated revenues during the first half of the year reached AED 26.6 billion, with a year-over-year increase of 1.1 per cent. Consolidated net profit recorded AED 4.7 billion while consolidated EBITDA reached AED 12.8 billion, resulting in an EBITDA margin of 48 per cent. This positive performance has been driven by our core businesses and our new business verticals, which have seen an increase in demand domestically and internationally.
This growth was also fueled by harnessing the power of our technological prowess, leveraging our expertise to forge new paths, disrupt industries, and transform the way we do business on a global scale. Our commitment to pushing boundaries and embracing change has positioned us as a true trailblazer in the digital era.
Our success has been driven by the combination of our innovative, customer-centric strategies and the unwavering dedication of our teams, along with our investment in world-leading infrastructure and cutting-edge technologies that consistently serve as the foundation of our achievements.
I would like to express my gratitude to our dedicated employees, whose relentless efforts and innovative spirit remain the driving force behind our progression. Similarly, we thank our loyal customers and stakeholders for their continued faith in our vision. Looking ahead, I remain confident that our commitment to connecting people, businesses, and communities through technology will enable us to provide continuous growth and value for our customers and stakeholders in the years to come.”
Key highlights and developments for H1 2023
e& to expand into Central and Eastern Europe through investment in majority stake in PPF Telecom
The perimeter will comprise of the Yettel Bulgaria, Yettel Hungary, Yettel Serbia, and O2 Slovakia operations, with more than 10 million subscribers and leading positions in their respective markets, as well as the CETIN and O2 Networks infrastructure businesses in these countries.
The upfront consideration for the acquisition is €2,150 million. The transaction is also subject to up to €350 million in earn-out payments to PPF if the PPF Telecom assets exceed certain financial targets within the three-year period after closing and is subject to a claw back if such financial targets are not achieved.
The PPF Telecom’s infrastructure businesses in each of these four countries are fully carved out and managed independently of the service companies. Through the investment, e& will own a 50% + 1 share economic stake in both the service and infrastructure companies.
e& and PPF aim to realise significant scope for synergies between the two groups, with sizeable opex and capex savings and multiple opportunities for the roll-out of the leading suite of e&’s B2B and B2C digital products in CEE.
The partners will retain current PPF Telecom CEO Balesh Sharma and ensure continuity of operations while drawing on the broad expertise of PPF Telecom’s teams in their markets.
The acquisition will be under e& international, the telecom vertical of e& in global markets. The acquisition will deliver on three key pillars of the e& international strategy: expanding the geographic footprint, promoting e& digital services, and increasing the scale and scope of synergies across e& operating companies.
The Group signed a binding agreement with Uber Technologies, Inc ("Uber") and its subsidiary Careem to acquire a majority stake in Careem's Super App spinout with an investment of $400 million, as part of e&'s strategic ambition to expand its digital consumer offering and accelerate its transformation into a global technology group.
e& has successfully completed the acquisition of ServiceMarket, expanding the range of digital services on the Smiles online marketplace and offering more than 30 everyday services to its customers.
It has further strengthened its global positioning this year, being recognised as the most valuable telecoms brand portfolio in the MEA region, worth over $14 billion, according to the 2023 Brand Finance Global 500 Report.
As part of its continued efforts to deliver a world-class experience to customers, e& partnered with Indosat to explore ways to service customers in Indonesia, UAE, and beyond, empowering them to use quality International Direct Dialing (IDD) services.
e& has taken further steps in using cutting-edge technologies by partnering with E-Space to develop satellite-based cloud-native digital and IoT solutions optimised with edge AI to maximise the value of borderless smart connectivity and digital solutions across land, sea, and air applications.
The Group has also partnered with Intel to focus on the deployment of edge data centres with a focus on a net zero carbon footprint, incorporating the latest 4th generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors.
e& collaborated with the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE) to offer interactive workshops to students, parents, and teachers from both public and private schools, as part of the Group's commitment to the digital empowerment of communities. These initiatives are part of e&'s ongoing efforts to support the education sector in the UAE and build on the Group's previous collaboration with MoE, where virtual cybersecurity awareness sessions were held for schools to promote a cybersecurity culture and enhance future generations' digital resilience.
Etisalat Academy by e& partnered with EarthLink to establish the EarthLink Academy, aimed at excellence in businesses, leadership and talent development, knowledge transfer, and vocational training. The comprehensive training programme will cover the areas of telecom and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network systems, ensuring the delivery of high-quality training programmes to meet the market's resource needs.
As part of its solid commitment to promoting gender diversity, empowering women, and encouraging sustainable business practices, e& collaborated with Nokia and UN Women to conclude the first ‘Women in Leadership’ programme, designed to increase the number of women in decision-making roles within the tech sector and integrate gender-balanced approaches to innovative business opportunities and technology solutions.
The Group has also remained on track to meet its 2030 net-zero target with the implementation of climate action projects in its UAE operations. etisalat by e&'s first deployments of energy-efficient radio equipment have reduced energy consumption by 52 per cent compared to previously deployed radio equipment. The reduction in energy consumption is equivalent to 7.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions per site per year for high-level sites configured with LTE carriers.
etisalat by e&
e&’s telecom arm etisalat by e& demonstrated strong performance during the first half of the year with continuous increase in subscribers across both mobile and fixed services leading to a total of 5.1 per cent subscriber growth compared to the same period last year, while overall revenue grew across all categories by 5.8 per cent during the second quarter this year.
Mobile subscribers grew by 5.7 per cent compared to the same period last year due to the positive response from customer propositions like Emirati Freedom and Freedom Live, and special prepaid promotions successfully implemented for all subscribers.
Fixed revenue grew by 2.1 per cent during the first half and 1.8 per cent during the second quarter compared to the same period last year, driven by new propositions such as Business Pro and home wireless services. In the UAE, EBITDA and net profit margins remain strong at over 51 and 26 per cent respectively during the first half of 2023 – thanks to the focus on profitable revenue growth and driving operational efficiency with continued cost optimisation.
etisalat by e&’s strategy to diversify into new digital products and services contributed to the acceleration of growth of its online marketplace ‘Smiles’ achieving more than 3.5 million subscribers while its super app GoChat witnessed more than 5.5 million downloads.
etisalat by e& accelerated efforts in 5G deployments and investments have significantly contributed to and solidified UAE’s position as a global leader in fixed and mobile speeds. Leveraging a visionary approach and relentless pursuit of innovation, the UAE now dominates the second and first positions, respectively. This progress underscores the UAE's emergence as a front-runner in delivering world-class fixed and mobile network services.
etisalat by e& maintained its position as the strongest telecoms brand across all categories in the MEA region this year, achieving a score of 89.1 out of 100 and an AAA rating. It was also ranked in the top three telecom brands globally according to the 2023 Brand Finance Global 500 report.
etisalat by e& successfully integrated ServiceMarket services, expanding the range of digital services on the Smiles online marketplace and offering more than 30 everyday services to its customers.
As part of its vision to digitally enable customers in their transformation journey, etisalat by e& partnered with ARAMTEC to help them capitalise on the digitisation and automation benefits of technology, empowering employees with cutting-edge tools to enhance their productivity, connectivity, and mobility.
etisalat by e& also announced the implementation of the first 5G SatComs in the region with the EUTELSAT QUANTUM satellite solution to extend 5G network capabilities on a software-defined satellite and to meet future applications that require higher throughput.
To provide the best innovative solutions, etisalat by e& opened a new Mobile Security Operation Centre (MSOC) in collaboration with the UAE Cybersecurity Council to provide business customers with real-time protection services to safeguard mobile phones from malicious attacks. etisalat by e& also deployed the private Microsoft Azure Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC) solution for enterprises as one of the first operators in the MENA region.
To meet customers' evolving needs in the changing business ecosystem, etisalat by e& launched new business postpaid plans with productivity tools, designed to meet the growing demand for data businesses where customers enjoy increased data allowances, enabling them to stay connected and productive wherever they go.
For SMBs, there was also the launch of the payment solution ‘uTap’ which aimed to simplify business operations, streamline payment processes, and embrace digital payment solutions.
With a significant emphasis on supporting the startup community, ‘Hello Business Pitch 2’ was held inviting ideators and start-ups to pitch their next big business idea, providing an innovative platform to support the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.
etisalat by e& continues to uphold its mandate of supporting Emiratisation, as demonstrated by employing more than 220 UAE nationals till date, in the second year of its partnership with Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council (“NAFIS”). etisalat by e&’s long-term strategy aims at investing in the next generation of leaders among UAE nationals, as evidenced by the Emiratisation percentage exceeding 53 per cent, one of the highest within its category in the UAE.
etisalat by e& also continued its Emiratisation efforts with the launch of the ‘National Programme’, an exclusive initiative that will support Emiratis in establishing their business supporting the UAE leadership’s efforts in promoting the growth of 100 per cent locally owned businesses and encouraging partnerships with the private sector.
Supporting the UAE leadership’s vision to instill the importance of tolerance and coexistence, etisalat by e& participated in the third edition of ‘Together in Emirates of Zayed’ and launched the ‘Five’ app exclusively designed for blue-collar workers using the ‘Five’ SIM.
e& international took a major step to elevate the digital experiences of the digital-native customers of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) by launching digital sub-brands through their joint venture with Circles.
It also launched the ‘e& partner networks’ to support the growth of global telecom operators, offering access to market best practices, cutting-edge services, and the benefits of e&'s scale to telecom operators around the world.
Tunisie Telecom became the first company to join the ‘e& partner network’ programme, supporting the future growth of the Tunisian national operator.
e& international also launched a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for advanced analytics which leverages cutting-edge machine learning and AI solutions, to offer personalised use-cases to regional and global clients across telecom and other industries.
etisalat by e& in Egypt partnered with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE) to launch a new fintech company, ‘Erada Microfinance’ with the aim of enabling a wide range of financial services for micro and small enterprises. In line with e&'s aim to enable a greener future, it deployed a Smart Connected Site solution, which will allow its subsidiary in Egypt to reduce fuel costs and CO2 emissions by up to 40 per cent as well as decrease reliance on fossil fuels.
PTCL and Vodafone have initiated a strategic collaboration to develop and deliver a full suite of end-to-end IoT services aimed at accelerating enterprise digital enablement and improving the adoption of connected services in Pakistan.
e& international maintained its leadership in customer experience, achieving the number one NPS position in most of its key markets.
e& life’s fintech arm and financial Super App e& money partnered with Mastercard to enable payments worldwide via an exclusive prepaid card, offering the flexibility and convenience of using both virtual and physical cards and becoming the first issuer supported by a telecom operator in the UAE.
evision, the media and entertainment arm of e&, acquired the exclusive MENA broadcast rights for the Documentary - King Charles III: A Road to the Throne. Following the coronation of King Charles III, the timing of the documentary's release is impeccably aligned as a first-of-a-kind opportunity to watch exclusive footage from the ceremony.
It has also launched the 24/7 GolfLife channel to broadcast live golf in the region and has acquired exclusive MENA rights to the PGA TOUR, the DP World Tour, the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup, and cricket's most anticipated event, the TATA Indian Premier League 2023.
evision successfully launched OTT platforms in Pakistan with SHOQ TV for PTCL and TWIST TV for Etisalat Egypt by e&. evision also secured a strategic agreement for STARZPLAY and e& OpCos with WATCH IT, a leading video-on-demand service for Arabic content.
Leading the digital transformation journey across the business sector, e& enterprise made considerable achievements with acquisitions and strategic partnerships to deliver the best technologies that empower businesses across the region.
e& enterprise acquired a majority stake in Beehive, MENA’s leading peer-to-peer digital platform, to tap into opportunities in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) lending market. This also marked the next step in e& enterprise’s expansion, as the move demonstrates its commitment to opening new avenues of growth across the UAE and in the region, while enabling Beehive to scale its business and expand its offerings.
Staying committed to the UAE’s vision of becoming a global hub for future industries, e& enterprise IoT & AI partnered with Maxbyte Technologies to deliver cutting-edge solutions for Industry 4.0, leveraging both companies’ combined expertise and experience.
Keeping in line with e& enterprise’s mission to drive digital transformation for companies across industries, it implemented engageX solutions for Audi from Al Nabooda Automobiles to automate their customer service support over digital channels.
The company has also launched its Sustainability As-a-Service offering to help businesses in their sustainability journey by partnering with Microsoft to implement the Microsoft Sustainability Manager as a key component of the proposition.
Help AG, the cybersecurity arm of e& enterprise, launched its new SaaS platform UNIFY to integrate with the ever-evolving cybersecurity technology landscape and deliver a seamless, unified customer experience. It also expanded its presence to Egypt, in addition to setting up the first cyber defense centre in the region.
e& enterprise IoT & AI joined hands with Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) with an aim to explore the opportunity to develop a commercial model to take MBRSC’s models and predictions to the market, enabling e& enterprise to leverage the space centre's expertise in AI and predictive models, while the Centre will benefit from the former’s resources and capabilities.
e& enterprise was also recognised by IDC MarketScape CPaaS 2023 as one of the major players in the region.
The tech investment arm of e& led a pre-series C round raising $10 million for almentor, a leading online video learning platform in Arabic. The proceeds will be used to accelerate almentor’s growth towards its goal of serving 10 million learners in the MENA region and use the funds to increase its investment in the B2C segment while expanding into Saudi Arabia.