The Zain Group has posted an annual net profit of KWD195 million (USD671.76 million) in 2009, down from KWD322 million in 2008. Zain chairman Assad al-Banwan said the biggest challenge was strong currency fluctuations, which cost Zain around KWD38 million last year. Annual EBITDA rose 24% to KWD926 million while earnings per share fell to KWD0.51 from KWD0.88 in 2008. The board proposed a cash dividend of KWD0.170 per share, excluding any distribution from the sale of some of Zain’s African assets to Bharti Airtel. Zain said it expects a profit of USD3.3 billion from the sale of its African assets after settling debt and provisions. The gain is expected to be reflected in Zain’s 2Q10 financial results.
‘Last year was the most difficult, not only for Zain Group, but for everyone,’ al-Banwan added. ‘The group’s companies were working under the pressure of the global financial crisis, and a majority of markets were massively impacted by the consequences of the crisis, especially the African markets.’