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Saudi Arabia's STC shared its Q2 2017 financial results showing a 7.9 percent net income increase compared to the same period last year to reach SR 2.4 billion (US$640 million). STC Group CEO Dr. Khaled H. Biyari said the results reflect the company's move to embrace digital transformation and Saudi Vision 2030.

"The financial results achieved for the 1st half of 2017 reflects the efforts being made to constantly evolve, improve and develop the company's strategy and operations and achieve the best returns for the shareholders," said Dr. Biyari in a statement. "Despite the various difficulties facing the sector, STC sponsored programs contributed to improve operational efficiency leading to improved income and margins."

For the first half of 2017, STC's net income reached SR 4.9 billion, an increase of 6.6% compared to same period last year. Earnings per share for the first half of 2017 grew to reach SR 2.45 compared to SR 2.30 for the comparable period last year.

Dr. Biyari said, "The whole region is moving towards digital transformation through elements of the fourth industrial revolution, here comes the importance of governments in the region to provide the right environment and stimulate investment in digital infrastructure required."

STC embraced Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 initiative, he said, and the national transformation program 2020 through multiple initiatives, which include deployment of broadband throughout the Kingdom. Saudi Vision 2030 is a national plan to reduce the nation's dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.

STC recently signed with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to provide high speed broadband with fiber-optic technology to more than 2 million homes projected to cost up to SR 7.3 billion.

The company will also "continue to invest in promising technologies and digital sectors, particularly in areas that enable the company to benefit from their assets and infrastructure and help enable growth and expansion of investments in different areas," said Dr. Biyari. The latest company announcement was establishing a $500 million venture capital fund (STV) to strengthen this trend.

In accordance with the approved dividend policy for three years starting from the 4th quarter 2015 which was announced on 11 November 2015, and having been ratified during the General Assembly Meeting on April 4th 2016, STC will distribute a total of SR 2,000 million in cash dividend for Q2 2017, representing SR 1 per share.