x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Maroc Telecom’s profit falls on tax charge

Maroc Telecom paid 1.5 billion Moroccan dirhams to the government in a tax agreement, of which 468 million dirhams was already covered by a provision.

Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s largest telecom operator, said its net profit attributable to shareholders fell 17.4 per cent last year to 5.54 billion Moroccan dirhams, due partly to a tax charge of 1bn dirhams.

The company paid 1.5bn dirhams to the government in a tax agreement, of which 468 million dirhams was already covered by a provision.

Etisalat has agreed to buy Vivendi’s 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom for €4.2bn, giving the Abu Dhabi company control over the largest wireless carrier in Morocco and a bigger footprint in sub-Saharan Africa.

Maroc Telecom’s sales revenue fell 4.3 per cent last year, hit by an 8.1 per cent drop in Morocco, its main market, although its customer base grew to 37 million from 33 million.

International revenues rose 9.5 per cent, however.

Revenues at Maroc Telecom’s subsidiaries grew 13.9 per cent in Gabon, 9.3 per cent in Mali, 6.3 per cent in Burkina Faso and 9.1 per cent in Mauritania.

The company said it had hit its target for an operating margin of approximately 56.8 per cent as a result of cost cutting. The operating margin was 56 per cent in 2012.

Maroc Telecom launched a restructuring plan in 2012 which has reduced its workforce by 14 per cent, or 1,404 staff.

Last year, it agreed with the Moroccan government a €900m investment to upgrade its network infrastructure and install fibre optics across the country. The Moroccan government still owns 30 per cent of the company.