The holder of Kuwait’s second mobile phone licence had a poor first three months of 2008 when its net profits fell to KD13.8m, down 44 per cent on net profits of KD24.5m in the same period of 2007.

Qtel bought a 51 per cent controlling stake in Wataniya in March 2007.

Wataniya’s improved financial performance was led by its Tunisian operation, Tunisiana, which increased net profits by 69 per cent to KD6m for the first half of the year.

Net profits at the core Kuwaiti business fell 17 per cent to KD41m in the first half of 2008, down from KD49m in the same period of 2007.

Wataniya’s Kuwaiti revenues increased 10 per cent from KD102m in the first half of 2007 to KD112m between January and June.