Mauritius Telecom's Profit at Record High

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The management of the leading Mauritian telecommunications operator and services provider, Mauritius Telecom (MT), has a lot to smile about, according to the company's recently released full-year financial report for 2007.

With revenue of 6.5 billion rupees (US$232 million) and after-tax profit of 2.14 billion rupees, exceeding 2 billion rupees for the first time, MT is strengthening its position as one of the best performing companies in the Small Island Developing State in the Indian Ocean. The group's total operating revenue grew by 7.1 percent while net income increased by 7.5 percent over its 2006 performance.

"This performance is the result of our strategy to invest in upgrading and renewing our equipment, particularly in areas such as broadband Internet, mobile and converging technologies," said Dass Thomas, MT's chairman, during a press conference.

But the main reason for growth remains the steady increase in the number of subscribers. During 2007, commercial initiatives such as the distribution of free SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards contributed to an increase of more than 12 percent in MT's mobile customer base, bringing it to 555,000 customers.

This boosted Cellplus -- the company's mobile arm -- which saw its revenue increase to 2.6 billion rupees as compared with 2.4 billion rupees in the previous financial year.

MT-owned Telecom Plus, the leading provider of dial-up and broadband Internet and value-added services in Mauritius, generated revenue of 477 million rupees, a 2.2 percent increase.

With the recent rebranding of Cellplus and Telecom Plus into Orange, France Telecom's commercial brand, MT's management is confident that it will succeed in continuing on this upward trend.

"We are confident that our new brand structure will reinforce our market position," said Sarat Lallah, the group's CEO.

But the island still has progress to make. According to the Central Statistics Office, only about 30 percent of Mauritian households have a PC. This low rate remains a barrier to Internet use, although MT intends to stimulate growth with the help of several initiatives.

MT's next step is to gain a bigger foothold in the region. Well poised to take advantage of the African market's new opportunities, it wishes to play a significant role in the continent's telecommunications space. As a start, MT is negotiating to take a 10 percent share in Telecom Kenya.

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