Etisalat's profit jumps 26% on Maroc Telecom buy

Etisalat reported a 26% jump in second-quarter profit on Sunday, beating analysts' estimates, as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) firm's acquisition of a majority stake in Maroc Telecom bolstered its bottom line.

The former telecom monopoly, which operates in 19 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a net profit of 2.5 billion dirhams ($680.7 million) in the three months to June 30, up from 1.98 billion dirhams in the year-ago period, according to Reuters calculations.

Etisalat, which beat the 2.19 billion dirham average forecast of analysts polled by Reuters, did not give a quarterly net profit breakdown in its results statement.

Net profit for the first six months of 2014 rose to 4.5 billion dirhams, up 19% year-on-year, the statement said.

In May, Etisalat bought a 53% stake in Maroc Telecom , which also has operations in Gabon, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Mali, for 4.14 billion euros.

The purchase helped boost consolidated revenue for the second quarter and its subscriber base at June 30 by 27% year-on-year, to 12.6 billion dirhams and 182 million users respectively, the statement said.

Etisalat, the Gulf's No.2 telecom operator by market value, proposed a cash dividend for the first six months of 2014 of 0.35 dirhams per share. This matched the payout for the same period of last year, according to Thomson Reuters data.