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UAE telecommunications company Etisalat Group posted steady financial results on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, reflecting a positive fourth quarter for the company. Etisalat Group's consolidated revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 amounted to AED 13.5 billion, representing an increase of 4% compared to the same period the previous year. Etisalat Group's UAE branch remains its most successful operation.

Telecom Review recognized Etisalat as the 'Best Telecom Brand' and 'Best Middle East Operator' at the Telecom Review Excellence Awards in December 2017. The company was also named 'Best Middle East Wholesale Operator' by Telecom Review, and its subsidiary Maroc Telecom was named 'Best African Operator'.

In the UAE, Etisalat's revenue in the fourth quarter increased year-on-year by 3% to AED 8.1 billion. The company's subscriber base in the UAE grew 3% to reach 12.6 million, compared to just 1% growth of its aggregate subscriber base to reach 142 million. Etisalat currently operates in 16 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, represented by subsidiaries such as Etisalat Egypt and Maroc Telecom.

"In 2017, Etisalat Group continued to deliver on its promise of strong performance despite the increasing global economic challenges and the mounting pressure facing the telecom industry," said Etisalat Group CEO Saleh Al Abdooli. "We have showcased good results underpinned by our continued commitment and investments toward next-generation services and solutions adding remarkable value to the communities we serve and enhance overall customer experience."

Etisalat UAE's net profit after federal royalty amounted to AED 8.2 billion and increased year-on-year by 5%. Etisalat UAE revenues amounted to AED 31.2 billion and increased year-on-year by 3%. The company proposed a dividend payout to shareholders of 80 fils for the full year 2017 and a dividend payout ratio of 82%.

"2017 proved to be yet another year of good achievements for Etisalat as we affirm our position as the leading operator in the markets where we operate," said Etisalat Chairman Eissa Mohamed Al-Suwaidi. "Maintaining good performance, despite the global challenges facing the telecom industry, is evidence that we continue to provide value to our customers and shareholders. We remain in a strong position to realize the opportunities that will come with the digital transformation the group is undergoing."

Al-Suwaidi praised the UAE's "wise leadership" for supporting the telecommunications sector and driving innovation. He said the company is fully aligned with the government's drive to position the UAE among the most advanced countries in the world. In fact, Etisalat was recently named the 'Most Valuable Brand' in the Middle East and Africa for 2017, with a brand value that stands at US$ 7.7 billion.

"With the unwavering support of the UAE leadership and our shareholders, along with the commitment of our world-class management team and the loyalty of our millions of customers across our footprint, I am confident that 2018 will continue the pattern of long-term, sustainable success that is the hallmark of Etisalat Group," Al-Suwaidi added.

In 2017 Etisalat Group launched a new corporate strategy focusing on 'Driving the Digital Future to Empower Societies' enabling the company to consistently push its boundaries, noted Al Abdooli, by "responding swiftly to the global digital advancements and proactively delivering cutting-edge services and solutions to our customers."

The establishment of Etisalat's 'Open Innovation Center' in Dubai was a strategic step in this direction allowing the company to highlight digital innovation, its capabilities and how digitalization can come to life for Etisalat customers, businesses and governments.

"We will continue to focus on creating the world's best and leading networks across our markets to deliver long-term value to all our stakeholders," said Al Abdooli. "The successful launch of the first pre-commercial 5G in UAE will enable our nation and businesses to achieve transformational growth by leveraging on new-age technologies like IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, cloud and future technologies that will reshape our society and industry on a large scale."

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