Vodafone Qatar to Cut Jobs, Write Off Assets as Loss Doubles

  • Mobile data consumption cannabilized voice calls, company says
  • Shares extend year loss to 38% as company yet to post profit

Vodafone Qatar QSC’s fired 10 percent of its staff and won’t pay a dividend as the company partly owned by Vodafone Group Plc announced a wider loss than forecast. Shares fell the most in four weeks.

About 50 employees were “made redundant,” Vodafone Qatar spokeswoman Lana Khachan said by e-mail on Tuesday. The company also plans to write off non-performing assets, acting Chairman Rashid Fahad Al-Naimi said in a statement.

The loss for the 12 months ended March 31 more than doubled to 465.7 million riyals ($128 million) as customers used mobile data rather than making international voice calls and competition increased. The average estimate of five analysts was for a loss of 348.2 million riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A 7 percent increase of mobile customers wasn’t enough to boost revenue, which slipped 8 percent to 2.12 billion riyals.

"The past year has been difficult for the company with the impact of structural changes in our industry, namely the increasing use of data at the expense of international voice traffic and sustained price competition," Al Naimi said.

Vodafone Qatar tumbled 3.6 percent to 11.09 riyals on Tuesday in Doha, extending a decline for the past 12 months to 38 percent.

The company on Tuesday said Al-Naimi replaced Sheikh Khalid bin Thani al Thani, who has left the company “due to his other work commitments.” Vodafone Qatar appointed Ian Gray as chief executive officer in December.

Company executives weren’t available for an interview to discuss earnings, Khachan said.

Vodafone Group owns 23 percent of Vodafone Qatar, while Qatar Foundation, which manages education, healthcare and other businesses, holds a 27 percent stake. The Qatari company hasn’t had a profit since raising $1 billion in an initial public offering in 2009.

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