Investcom reports strong profitable growth and intention to list on the DIFX and LSE | Investcom reports strong profitable growth and intention to list on the DIFX and LSE -
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Investcom reports strong profitable growth and intention to list on the DIFX and LSE

United Arab Emirates: Sunday, September 18 - 2005 @ 14:52

Profitable growth continues

For the first six months of 2005, Investcom reported 72% year-on-year growth in subscribers, 44% year-on-year increase in gross operating revenues and a 56% year-on-year rise in EBITDA.

The company maintained strong growth across all operating countries, increasing its total customer base number to 3.3 million subscribers at the end of June 2005. This represents an increase of 72% on the same period in 2004 (1.9 million), and a 29% increase in the six months since the end of 2004 (2.6 million).

The growth in subscribers contributed to a 44% increase in total gross operating revenues to $395.6 million for the half year ended June 30, 2005, compared to $275.4 million for the same period in 2004.

Gross operating revenues for the mobile telephony business were $358.5 million in the half year ended June 30, 2005, compared to $237.9 million in 2004. Gross operating revenues (after inter-company eliminations) for other services, including Investcom’s international carrier services, fixed telephony and engineering, decreased slightly to $37.0 million in the year to 30 June, 2005 from $37.5 million in the same period of 2004. Non-mobile telephony revenues now represent 9% of total consolidated operating revenues, compared to 14% in 2004.

EBITDA for the period increased by 56% year-on-year to $186.5 million, from $119.3 million in 2004. This corresponds to an EBITDA margin of 47% in the first half of 2005, compared with 43% in the first half of 2004. Consolidated EBITDA does not include the company’s share of the results of Spacetel Yemen, which the company accounts for on an equity basis.

Net profit in the first half of 2005 grew to $90.1 million (including an extraordinary net income of $7million for the disposal of an associate), from $73.7 million for the same period in 2004, representing a year-on-year increase of 22%.

Unaudited interim financial statements at and for the six-month periods ended 30 June 2004 and 2005 have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Intention to proceed with IPO

Investcom today also announced its intention to proceed with an initial public offering (IPO), subject to market conditions, in 2005, of Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) on the London Stock Exchange (“LSE”). Independently of the offering, Investcom is also looking forward to being one for the first companies to list its ordinary shares on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (“DIFX”).

Company appoints second non-executive director

The company also announced the appointment of Berge Setrakian as an additional independent, non-executive director of the company, effective as of September 15, 2005.

Mr. Setrakian, 56, joins the Board of Directors of Investcom having spent more than 30 years as a corporate legal counsel practicing in both Lebanon and in the United States.

Commenting on the appointment, Taha Mikati, Chairman of Investcom said:“At this important time, we regard Mr. Setrakian’s independence and experience as essential in assisting us in maintaining and demonstrating the highest standards of governance. This appointment to the Board reflects the shareholder’s commitment to excellence and we look forward to the insight that Mr. Setrakian will bring to our company.”

GSM license in Guinea awarded

The company also today announced that it has been awarded a license by the Government of the Republic of Guinea to install, operate and manage a GSM 900/1800 cellular network under the brand name AreebaTM in Guinea along with an International Gateway.

The license is valid for a period of 18 years. Investcom will pay a total of €30 million to the Guinean government in return for the license, consisting of an up-front payment of €15 million plus five additional annual interest-free payments of €3 million.

Azmi Mikati, Chief Executive Officer of Investcom, said: “We are extremely pleased by this new award as we believe Guinea represents another excellent opportunity for our company and continues our strategy of targeting markets with high growth prospects. Guinea has limited telecommunications infrastructure at the moment and, given a population of approximately 10 million combined with very low single-digit penetration, represents a meaningful opportunity for the company.”

Investcom aims to launch its mobile phone services under the AreebaTM brand in Guinea in the first half of 2006.

Company opts for Dubai as new place of domiciliation

Effective September 15, 2005, the company has changed its domiciliation from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in the Emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and is now incorporated as a limited liability company(LLC) under the laws promulgated by the Dubai International Financial Center.

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Sunday, September 18- 2005 @ 14:52 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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