The board of directors has recommended a stock dividend of six per cent on the outstanding shares as of December 31, 2003, and an additional rights issue of eight per cent.
As well as expanding its service offerings in the Kuwaiti market, Wataniya has delivered strong regional growth throughout 2003, winning licenses to operate networks in Iraq and Algeria. The company is actively pursuing other regional license opportunities and partnerships to further build its regional portfolio.
“We are investing aggressively in our regional expansion,” said Wataniya Telecom Chairman, Faisal Al Ayyar. “Wataniya Telecom has embarked on a strategy of investing in new technologies that bring value added services to its subscribers and this has consolidated our firm leadership in the Kuwaiti market. The Tunisia and Iraq operations have added considerably to the growing reputation of Wataniya Telecom as a proven regional market player. Now, with the strong potential of the Algeria market supported by Wataniya Telecom’s operational expertise and track record of efficient management and resources, we have become a major telecom player in the Middle East and North Africa,” he said.
Total revenues for 2003 increased by 87 per cent to KD 160.4 million (US$ 545.2 million) from KD 85.5 million (US$ 290.8 million) in 2002. Total assets were KD 341.7 million (US$ 1,161.6 million) compared to KD 257.8 million (US$ 876.6 million), a rise of 33 per cent, and Shareholders’ Equity grew by 53 per cent to KD 93.3 million (US$ 317.2 million) from KD 61.0 million (US$ 207.4 million) in 2002.
Wataniya Telecom ended 2003 with a market capitalisation of KD 998.0 million (US$ 3.4 billion), the third highest on the Kuwait Stock Exchange. The company is part of the KIPCO (Kuwait Projects Company) group. KIPCO, with assets of more than US$ 10 billion under management or control, is one of the leading diversified holding companies in the Middle East and North Africa, and a major regional force in financial services and media & technology, with further interests in real estate and industry. The largest private company in Kuwait, KIPCO employs more than 10,000 people internationally and its shares are the most actively traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
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