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Zain expects ‘historic’ year for earnings

Zain expects to take its customer base to 90 million - Chief Executive Officer Saad Al Barrak.

Kuwait-based telecoms operator Zain expects a 'historic' year for earnings, the company's head has said, according to a report on Thursday.

According to the newswire Bloomberg, Zain expects to record 'historic' earnings this year; it aims to take its  customer base to 90 million, Chief Executive Officer Saad Al Barrak said in Beirut.

Formerly known as MTC, Kuwait’s national telecoms brand Zain has grown into a global player with operations in more than 22 countries. According to CEO Saad Al Barrak, the firm has ringfenced $5bn to spend on new acquisitions before 2011 and is on track to hit this year’s target of a 30 percent rise in net profit. Group net profit was $1.40bn in 2008; an annual increase of six percent.

Last year proved highly successful for the telecoms firm: it rebranded its entire African network and began operations in Saudi Arabia. In September Zain raised $4.40bn in a capital increase. Some 99 percent of existing shareholders subscribed to the offer, making it the largest capital raising in Kuwait’s history.

This year Zain looks set to expand its presence in North Africa, after last month taking a 31 percent stake in Wana, Morocco’s third mobile operator, for $324m. The firm is already active in Ghana, where it launched Africa’s first 3.5G network in December.

Zain is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.

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