Kuwait-based telecoms group Zain has published its consolidated financial results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2020, reporting a 2% increase in revenues year-on-year to KWD1.63 billion (USD5.38 billion), while EBITDA decreased 8% annually to KWD673 million. The company booked a net profit of KWD185 million in the twelve months under review, down 15% y-o-y. Zain highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted economic activity due to lockdowns and travel bans across all Zain markets, impacting the group’s revenue by USD417 million. Further, foreign currency translation impact – mainly due to a 16% currency devaluation in Sudan – cost the group USD110 million in revenue, USD50 million in EBITDA and USD16 million in net income. Zain Group invested USD1.4 billion in CAPEX (26% of revenues), predominantly in 5G rollouts in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, 4G upgrades and new network sites across Iraq and Jordan, expansion of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure and spectrum licence fees.
In operational terms, Zain Group reported a consolidated customer base of 47.8 million at 31 December 2020, down 3.4% y-o-y. In Kuwait subscribers decreased 7.0% y-o-y to 2.6 million, while the Saudi Arabian unit served 7.6 million subscribers (down from 7.0 million in Q4 2019). Zain Sudan’s subscriber base stood at 16.6 million at 30 December 2020, up 4% y-o-y. Zain Iraq, meanwhile, saw its customer base increase 3.2% y-o-y to serve 16.2 million users at end-December 2020, while the user base in Jordan contracted by 2.8% to 3.5 million.
Mr. Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, commented: ‘The Group’s performance for 2020 reflects the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption on economic-social activity and the unavoidable impact it had on the financial results. The Board and management are working closely together in minimising this impact across our footprint with a particular focus on driving efficiencies, cost optimisation and monetising our 4G and 5G networks. Our 4Sight strategy is taking shape, building on our many strengths while seeking new value-creating business verticals that support our vision of becoming a leading ICT and digital lifestyle provider.’