Muscat: Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) held its first two e-extraordinary and ordinary general assembly meetings in line with the decisions of the Supreme Committee Tasked with Handling the Developments of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic and the directives of the Capital Market Authority (CMA). As per these instructions, public joint stock companies were asked to hold their annual general assemblies remotely as per the guidelines set by CMA.
The extraordinary general assembly of the company, which was held under the chairmanship of Abdul Salam al Murshidi, Chairman of the Board of Directors in the presence of board members, external auditors of the company, the legal advisor, the observer of the Capital Market Authority and the shareholders.
The meeting approved the amendments made to the company’s articles of association to ensure compliance with the Commercial Companies Law issued by Royal Decree No 18/2019. According to the new amendments, all members of the Board of Directors are elected by the general assembly of the company.
The extraordinary meeting was followed by the annual ordinary general assembly meeting, which took note of the Company’s decision to distribute cash dividends to registered shareholders as of March 26, 2020 (55 Baisas per share), based on the CMA circular No 4/202 dated 18 March 2020.
The ordinary general assembly also approved the company’s financial results for 2019 and approved the amount allocated for the community support for 2020.
The general assembly also elected by secret ballot 9 members (from the shareholders and others) for the new term namely Abdul Salam al Murshidi, Saud al Nahari, Khaled al Khalili, Ayman al Hosni, Sayyid Zaki al Busaidi, Matar al Mamari, Mulham al Jarf, Atef al Siyabi, and Muslim al Barami. The new board held its first meeting and elected Abdul Salam bin Mohammed al Murshidi as Chairman and Saud bin Ahmed al Nahari as the Vice Chairman. The Board of Directors (BoD) sub committees were also formed and their members were elected.
Commenting on the meeting, Abdul Salam bin Mohammed al Murshidi, Chairman of Omantel’s Board of Directors said, “The Group continued its good financial performance during 2019 despite the challenges that faced the sector, especially in the local market.”
“Zain operations continued to contribute to the growth of Omantel Group business and to make off the weak growth in the local market. Zain Group operations grew by 25 per cent on an annual basis. This remarkable growth is attributed to the full consolidation of Zain KSA results in the Group in 2019 (the results of Zain KSA were consolidated for only 6 months during 2018)”, he added.
“Omantel’s acquisition of a strategic stake in the Zain Mobile Group contributed to raising the revenues and profits of Omantel Group and as a result of this acquisition, the third largest mobile operator in the MENA region was created. The acquisition provided opportunities for synergies between the two companies, enhanced the ability to compete more effectively in the market and helped in addressing the risks of operating in a single market”, he concluded.
On his part, Talal bin Said al Mamari, CEO of Omantel, said, “Omantel continued its growth trajectory despite the challenges that the sector witnessed in general. Omantel Group total revenues (including Zain Group’s operations) grew by 18.6 per cent reaching RO 2,592 million compared to RO 2,186 million last year. Earnings before interest, tax and depreciation and amortization grew by 28 per cent from RO 855 million to RO 1,098 million. Omantel Group net profit (before non-controlling interests) grew by 43.5 per cent to RO 299.7 million compared to RO 208.8 million during 2018. The net profit (after non-controlling interests) increased by 19.9 per cent to RO 77.7 million, compared to RO 64.8 million in 2018.
“During 2019, we implemented several initiatives to overcome the challenges that faced the sector and take advantage of available opportunities to ensure sustainability of Omantel business. We further capitalized on available synergy opportunities between Omantel and Zain, especially in areas, such as wholesale, enterprise and digital services, as well as enhancement of customer experience,” he added.
Commenting on the networks, Al Mamari pointed out that Omantel launched the first 5G network in the Sultanate in December 2019 to keep pace with the latest global technology advancements. The move is expected to pave the way for the introduction of many technologies related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence (AI) and Fintech solutions. Omantel continued its local network expansion plan and strengthening its international connectivity benefitting from the unique geographical location of the Sultanate and the significant investments made by the company during the past period in building a robust submarine cables network linking the whole globe through the Sultanate”.
As for the company’s social responsibility, Talal al Mamari said: “Omantel CSR strategy focuses on building partnerships and launching initiatives aimed at improving the standards of living of the targeted groups. Omantel CSR initiatives also facilitates digital transformation by supporting important sectors, such as education and health, in addition to supporting entrepreneurship, SMEs and promoting positive attitude towards environment and HSE”.
“Omantel has launched several initiatives in cooperation with partners from government and civil society institutions to maximize the impact of its CSR initiatives on the targeted groups and society in general. The number of beneficiaries from Omantel social initiatives during 2019 stood at about 122,613, he continued.
“In 2019, Omantel managed to achieve the sustainability goals that were set as part of Omantel Sustainability Framework in 2014 to be achieved in 2020. Omantel has invested more than RO 10 million in sustainability-related initiatives in addition to reaching 95 per cent broadband coverage at speeds of not less than 10 Mbps – a year before the target date,” he concluded.
Omantel Group revenue includes revenues for the parent company’s local operations, revenue for Zain Group and other local and international subsidiaries.
Omantel’s domestic operations include fixed services, mobile services and Omantel International, Omantel’s wholesale business arm, which is active in voice hubbing services, in addition to Omantel subsidiaries (Oman Data Park and the Internet of Things Company “Momkin”).
Omantel domestic operations revenues grew by 1.5 per cent in 2019. The revenues increased from RO 544.0 million in 2018 to RO 554.3 million in 2019.
The annual general assembly of Omantel has also approved the remaining items on the agenda, including allocating RO 500,000 for community support initiatives in 2020, appointing the auditor for the fiscal year that ends on 12/31/2020, determining their fees and approving the remuneration of the Board of Directors for the fiscal year ended on 12/31/2019. –ONA