Kuwait-based telecoms group Zain has published its consolidated financial results for the three months ended 31 March 2018, reporting revenues of KWD259 million (USD864 million), up 5% year-on-year, while EBITDA decreased 21% annually to KWD84 million. Zain highlighted that for financial reporting purposes, it applied the new IFRS 9 and IFRS 15 accounting standards that negatively impacted Zain’s key financial indicators for the first three-month period of 2018, particularly EBITDA. The company booked a net profit of KWD41 million in the twelve months under review, up 7% y-o-y. Zain disclosed that it incurred foreign currency losses amounting to USD7 million in respect of net income and USD38 million in respect of revenue for the three-month period to 31 March, predominantly due to a 38% currency devaluation in Sudan.
In operational terms, Zain Group reported a consolidated customer base of 49 million at 31 March 2018, up 2% y-o-y. In Kuwait subscriber numbers reached 2.8 million (flat y-o-y), while Jordan saw its customer base decrease to 3.9 million (down from 4.3 million). Zain Saudi Arabia’s subscriber base also decreased, to 8.4 million in Q1 2018 (down 17% y-o-y), as a result of the government’s biometric identification project (which reduced the number of pre-paid SIMs to two per ID), while Zain Iraq served 14.5 million users at end-March 2018, with 2.2 million net additions over twelve months.
Group CEO Bader Al-Kharafi said: ‘Management’s transformational and digitisation efforts are resulting in sound operational progress across several of our key markets as reflected in our robust results for the first quarter, highlighted by the improving performance in our home market of Kuwait and similarly in Iraq, as well as in the strong growth of data revenues. If it were not for unavoidable externalities such as the prolonged currency issue in Sudan and various adverse factors in Saudi Arabia, as well as the application of the new IFRS accounting standards, the Q1 2018 results would have been even more impressive.’