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Etisalat's Board of Directors Proposes a Record Total Dividend Per Share for the Year 2020 of AED 1.20, Inclusive of 40 fils Special Dividends

Tuesday, February 23, 2021/ Editor -  

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Etisalat Group Reports Consolidated Net Profit of AED 9.0 billion a 3.8% increase year over year
 
Abu Dhabi - February 23, 2021:  Etisalat Group announced today its consolidated financial statements for the 12 months ending December 31 2020.
2020 Financial Highlights and Key Developments
 
• Aggregate subscriber base reached 154 million, representing year over year increase of 3.6%.
• Consolidated Net Profit reached AED 9.0 billion a 3.8% increase year over year attributed to strong growth in the international operations that outweighed the decline in the UAE operations. 
• Consolidated EBITDA amounted to AED 26.4 billion, representing a year over year increase of 0.3% and resulting in EBITDA margin of 51.1%.
• Proposed dividend payout of 40 fils per share for the second half of 2020, representing a total dividend payout of 80 fils for the full year.
• Board proposed cancellation of the share buyback program and instead proposed a one-time special dividend of AED 0.40 per share. As a result, the total ‎dividend per share for the full year 2020 is AED 1.20
•        Credit Ratings by agencies S & P Global and Moodys affirmed Etisalat Group’s high credit rating at AA-/Aa3 with stable outlook.
 
Community Support during Covid19
 
Etisalat launched multiple initiatives to support the community during the pandemic including but not limited to:
• Etisalat provided Free Internet access to families without connectivity at home to facilitate access to distance learning services. 
• More than 10 million Etisalat mobile subscribers enjoyed free browsing to over 800 websites related to education, health and safety.
• Free access to apps and platforms for distance learning and for government services. 
• Launched enhanced offers for customers to upgrade their home and mobile plans at no extra charge.
• Etisalat introduced a wide range of device bundles and free access to Etisalat's unified communication and collaboration platform CloudTalk Meeting to help businesses stay connected.
• Introduced new innovative applications and services to ensure seamless business continuity during work from home period.
• Etisalat deployed a dedicated task force to ensure business continuity, monitor the performance of basic applications and ensue smooth access to data locally and internationally
• Establishing command centres equipped with advanced tools to monitor the performance of services provided to government departments, businesses and customers 24/7  
• Allocating extra network resources and services to the health sector
• Provided connectivity to quarantined and other critical areas in the health sector
• Conducted Stay-At-Home awareness campaigns across multiple channels.
• Etisalat rolled out special offers with the support of the Frontline Heroes Office to help frontline professionals nationwide stay connected to family and friends at home and abroad while protecting the nation through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Industry Recognition 
• Etisalat crowned as the ‘Strongest Brand’ in MEA region and ranked the most valuable telecom portfolio brand in MEA for 5th year in a row
• Etisalat recognised as the fastest mobile network in the world by Ookla
• Etisalat awarded ‘Best Regional Wholesale Carrier’ for the 12th year
• Etisalat recognised by Frost & Sullivan as  ‘UAE Data Centre Services Industry Company of the year’
Key Developments
• Etisalat completed the acquisition of Help AG, a privately held regional company specialising in the delivery of cyber security solutions and services
• Digital Financial Services, a joint venture of Etisalat and Noor Bank, partnered with MoneyGram to offer international remittance services in the UAE
• Etisalat achieves the world’s fastest 5G download speed of 9.1 Gigabits per second
• Etisalat partnered with Ericsson to connect to its charging system and 5G Business Support Systems (BSS) supporting new use cases including IoT, network slicing, AR and VR
• Etisalat successfully launched open virtual Radio Access Network (Open vRAN), becoming the first operator in MENA to achieve this technological feat 
• Etisalat unveiled the 5G-enabled smart patrol for Dubai Police, a first in the Middle East and North Africa region
• Etisalat subscribers can now access 5G fixed networks for the first time from their homes in UAE
• Etisalat in partnership with Ministry of Interior signs an MoU with Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme to provide villas with the smart fire alarm solution ‘Hassantuk’ 
• Etisalat launched ‘Business Edge’, a new comprehensive platform offering a wide range of services and solutions that cater to Small and Medium Business (SMB) customers
• Etisalat teams up with BMW Group Middle East to power connected drive services in UAE
• Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) collaborated with Etisalat to deploy innovative technologies for an advanced telecom infrastructure, high speed internet and superior mobile connectivity
• Etisalat partnered with Microsoft to enhance its public cloud infused with automation and AI
• Etisalat joined Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect Service Delivery Programme to offer fast, private, and secure connectivity for accessing AWS cloud services
• Etisalat and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) partnered to deploy a cloud-based IoT Smart Building solution, providing FAB ‘anytime anywhere’ access and ease of operations across its entire portfolio
• Etisalat expands ‘SmartHub’ presence with a Tier 3 data centre facility at two new locations in UAE 
• Etisalat partnered with Alef Education, to enable both entities to collaborate on a series of digital initiatives to empower the region’s education sector.
• Etisalat partnered with Smartworld to bring ‘Shahada’, a tamper proof digital certificate platform for all educational institutions in the region.
• Etisalat loyalty programme ‘Smiles’ launched UAE’s first ever blockchain-powered Rewards Exchange 
• Etisalat partnered with Department of Health, the regulator of the healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi to launch the ‘Digital Healthcare’ Centre
• Etisalat launched first-of-it-kind telehealth service in the private sector as a continuation of its mission to provide clinical excellence to patients in need
• Etisalat partnered with Vectramind, a global healthcare and communications technology firm to offer ‘Firstpass’ an innovative healthcare platform to its customers in the region.
Chairman’s Statement:
H.E. Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman of Etisalat Group, said: “As we begin our journey into a new digitally empowered future, 2020 was a true testimony to Etisalat Group’s resilience and agility.  
 
“Despite the unprecedented global impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, Etisalat demonstrated robust financial performance, driven by our bold vision to constantly innovate while ensuring that communities we serve remain connected, informed and productive. Across our footprint, we stood for our communities and took immediate steps to protect our teams and customers, support critical verticals, and ensure the uninterrupted delivery of quality services. We engaged heavily with governments and authorities while supporting the community with innovative offerings and free initiatives that assisted students, organisations, and societies as a whole. During the year, revenue and net profit growth were witnessed in our international markets while the domestic market experienced a decline in both due to the pandemic and market maturity. 
 
The telecom industry has proven to be the backbone of the new-norm and a tool of empowerment. We take pride in our response that stood out amongst global peers across our footprint. Etisalat demonstrated strong commitment, swift reactions, and readiness as a result of years of adept planning of business continuity and crisis management scenarios. We have also been in leading positions across several industry rankings. Years of investments in infrastructure and digital capabilities resulted in positioning Etisalat on global standings in ICT readiness and adoption, broadband subscriptions, fiber penetration and mobile coverage.
Etisalat Group is well positioned for the future and we are confident in our ability to maintain our exceptional financial performance. In addition to sustaining our total dividend of AED 0.80 per share, we are pleased to be proposing a special one-time dividend of AED 0.40, bringing the total dividends for the year to AED 1.20 per share representing a dividend payout ratio of 115% and a high dividend yield for year 2020. This is a testament to our commitment of enhancing shareholder value.
I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to the UAE leadership, an inspiration and motivation behind every success in our journey. Thanks to our customers for allowing us to be part of their lives, our stakeholders for their continuous trust and Etisalat employees and management team for their efforts and unwavering commitment towards realising our vision of ‘Driving the Digital Future to Empower Societies.”
 
GCEO’s Statement:
Eng. Hatem Dowidar, CEO of Etisalat Group, said: “Our journey in 2020 was transformational with an unprecedented pandemic that reshaped humanity, created a new ‘irreversible’ normal, shattered the digital adoption divide, and accelerated the future. For Etisalat Group, it was a year of resilience, agility, social responsibility, and in contrast to many businesses, great results. A moment of truth that obliged us to reflect and transform at group level to affirm our position as a leading world-class telco.
 
It was indeed a challenging year, however across our operations we remained committed and took necessary steps to support our customers and the communities we serve. Our prime focus was to ensure business continuity and the sustainability of high quality services in a manner that was safe for our employees and customers. This was all possible due to the relentless effort towards realising our vision while investing for growth, sustaining a world-class telecom infrastructure, retaining differentiated assets, platforms, and capabilities integral to building a network for a better future across our operations. As a result we have achieved many historical milestones, from being recognised as the fastest mobile network in the world, to being crowned the strongest brand in Middle East and Africa and the most valuable telecom portfolio brand for a fifth year in a row.
 
In a challenging environment, we performed effectively and achieved strong financial and operational results with slightly lower revenue. Group consolidated revenue decreased by 0.9% while EBITDA rose by 0.3%, resulting in a healthy EBITDA margin of 51.1%  The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on UAE’s performance that resulted in revenue and EBITDA decline. This was mostly compensated by growth in revenue and EBITDA of international operations. Consequently, consolidated group net profit grew by 3.8% reaching AED 9.0 billion.
 
Moving forward, I am confident that we will remain in a strong position compared to our global peers and other industries by maintaining our momentum and continuing our efforts to address several industry-wide challenges, focusing on operational areas of improvement and creating group synergies to capture further value. 
 
We are looking beyond business as usual achievements and aiming to accelerate several key strategic priorities. We are certain that our “own transformation” is a necessity considering the enormous changes in industry ecosystem. In 2020 we have launched a Group-wide transformation program to address the challenges and seize the opportunities while shaping the future for Etisalat Group as a leading world-class telco.
 
The digital services and international portfolio remain the major drivers for future growth. There is considerable untapped potential and opportunities in the areas of cloud, IoT, and cyber security, which are expected to fuel future digital growth and rebalance telecom revenues. We will remain focused on improving operational excellence across our footprint, rationalise our portfolio and enrich it with assets that maximise the return on investment for our shareholders and added value for our customers. Moreover, 5G deployment will continue and unlock new business opportunities.  
 
Etisalat is thankful to the visionary leaders of the UAE for their continuous support of the telecom sector and we owe our customers and shareholders immense appreciation for their trust and support. Thanks to our dedicated teams for going far and beyond in serving our customers, sustaining premium services in times of uncertainty and in times of prosperity.
 
Subscribers 
 
In the UAE, the subscriber base reached to 12.2 million subscribers, while Etisalat Group aggregate subscribers reached 154 million subscribers representing a year on year increase of 3.6%. 
 
Revenue and Net Profit
 
Twelve month consolidated revenues reached AED 51.7 billion, while consolidated net profit after Federal Royalty for the twelve month amounted to AED 9.0 billion an increase of 3.8% compared to last year. 
 
EBITDA
 
Consolidated EBITDA amounted to AED 26.4 billion an increase of 0.3% compared to prior year, and resulting in EBITDA margin of 51.1%.

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