Kuwait-based telecoms giant Zain Group has published its consolidated financial results for the nine month period ended 30 September 2015 (9M15), reporting a 7% annual decrease in revenues to KWD855 million (USD2.8billion), down from the KWD921 million reported in the corresponding period of 2014. In the nine months to end-September 2015, EBITDA reached KWD372 million (down 4% year-on-year), while the company booked a net profit of KWD118 million in 1H15, a 27% decrease on the profit reported twelve months earlier.
The company disclosed that the recent appreciation of the US dollar against the Kuwaiti dinar affected revenues negatively by USD177 million in 9M15. As mandated by its mobile operating licence, Zain Iraq completed an initial public offering (IPO) of 25% of its share capital on 23 June 2015. However, the company added that the implementation of a new 20% sales tax on mobile services in Iraq from 1 August, in addition to the continued social instability in the country and heightened levels of competition severely impacted the group’s overall key financial metrics.
In operational terms, Zain Group reported a 4% increase in its consolidated customer base, which reached 45.6 million at 30 September 2015. In Kuwait subscribers increased by 9% year-on-year, to 2.9 million, while Bahrain reported 1.6% growth in its customer base to 801,000 over the same period. Meanwhile, Iraq saw its customer base deceased to 11.4 million, due to a change in the definition of ‘active customers’ implemented by the country’s regulator, while Saudi Arabia contributed 11.8 million users to the total subscriber base, equivalent to 31% y-o-y growth. Elsewhere, Zain Jordan signed up a total of 4.1 million users, a 3% improvement compared to June 2014, with Sudan reporting a 4% annual increase in users to 11.6 million.