Zain Group: Investment in next-gen spectrum is the key to strong financials for 2019
Zain Group says that its huge investment in 5G rollouts in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and network expansion are paying off, with a subsequent 5G launch in Bahrain coming shortly
Middle Eastern telco, Zain Group, has announced a strong set of financials for 2019, paying out a dividend of 33 fils per share to its shareholders. The company has also guaranteed to pay a minimum of 33 fils per share for each of the next three years.
Zain has launched 5G services in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and will shortly launch next generation mobile network services in Bahrain. In doing so, Zain group has invested around $300 million in next generation spectrum and has taken a leading role in the formation of regulatory guidelines to govern the process.
“To ensure the success of our strategy, we have been very active in the regulatory arena in regard to spectrum acquisition and in seeking support from regulators and other government authorities. During 2019, we acquired or renewed over 600 MHz of the frequency spectrum across markets in various bands at an acquisition commitment price of nearly USD 300m. In Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the allocation of these spectrum bands has facilitated the launch of 5G services as is the case with Bahrain that will soon launch 5G. On this point, I would like to point out that we were the first operator in the region to offer 5G roaming between Kuwait and KSA back in November,” Zain Group vice-chairman and group CEO, Bader Al Kharafi, told attendees at the company’s AGM.
“The company is mobilising resources to capitalise on the enormous prospects that 5G technology provides, creating vast opportunities in the value chain proposition in numerous industries, especially with regard to enterprise (B2B) services to government and businesses of all sizes. We believe 5G will push the telecom sector to a new and exciting phase of growth,” he added.
During the AGM, Zain Group revealed its financial results for the full-year 2019, during which time the company grew its international and domestic customer base to 49.5 million subscribers.
The company generated consolidated revenue of $5.5 billion (KD 1.66 billion), which represents a 26 per cent year-on-year growth.
Consolidated EBITDA for the period rose by 40 per cent on a year-on-year basis, to $2.4 billion (KD 728 million) with an EBITDA margin of 44 per cent. Consolidated net income reached $715 million (KD 217 million).