Zain sees Q1 profits rise 3.3%

Kuwaiti telco operator benefits from expansion programme abroad as customer base increases.

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By  Martin Morris Published  May 5, 2009

Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunication Co (Zain) reported on Tuesday that net income in the three months through March 31 rose 3.3 percent to 75.7 million dinars ($260.5 million), compared with 73.3 million dinars in the year-earlier period.

Consolidated revenues amounted to 567.2 million dinars ($1.96 billion), an increase of 25% compared to Q1 2008.

Meanwhile, consolidated EBIDTA rose by 40% for the same period to reach 245.4 million dinars ($847.1 million).

The operator, in which Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund is the biggest shareholder, has been spending billions of dollars to expand abroad as competition heats up at home, where VIVA, an affiliate of Saudi Telecom, has started operations.

As a result of network expansion the company grew its customer base by 41 percent to 64.7 million, the mobile operator said in a statement Tuesday.

Noting the network spend Zain Group CEO Dr Saad Al Barrak said: "We expect to reap further financial rewards (from) these investments in the second half of 2009''.

On Monday Zain announced it is cutting its global workforce by 2000, or 13 percent - part of its 'Drive2011' programme that will see the company focusing on customer-facing services and commercial activities, and centralising and outsourcing certain back office/non-core functions to strategic partners.

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