Kuwait-based telecoms giant Zain Group has published its consolidated financial results for the nine months to 30 September 2016, reporting a 3% decrease in revenues to KWD826 million (USD2.7 billion). In the period under review, EBITDA reached KWD390 million, up 5% year-on-year, while the company booked a net profit of KWD124 million in 9M16, up 5% from the KWD118 million reported in the previous year. The company disclosed that it incurred foreign currency losses amounting to USD96 million for the nine-month period to 30 September, a ‘substantial’ increase from the USD69 million reported for the same period in 2015, predominantly in Sudan and Iraq. Further, the continued political instability in Iraq and the newly introduced 20% tax on mobile services in the market severely impacted its operations and the group’s overall key financial indicators.
Zain Group highlighted that its Saudi Arabian unit received a 15-year mobile licence extension in October 2016, while securing a Unified Telecommunication License, which allows the company to provide all telecommunications services, including fixed telephony. The license extension will reduce the annual amortisation charge by SAR433 million (USD115 million) starting from the date of the extension, reducing the company’s net losses by the same amount. The positive financial impact of this will take effect in Q4 2016.
In operational terms, Zain Group reported a consolidated customer base of 45.8 million at 30 September 2016, marginally up from 45.6 million reported in September 2015. In Kuwait subscribers remained flat, at 2.9 million, while Jordan saw its customer base increase by 2% y-o-y to 4.2 million. Zain Saudi Arabia’s subscriber base, meanwhile, decreased by 11% to 10.5 million in Q3 2016, due to the country’s biometric registration process.