Kuwait-based telecoms group Zain has published its consolidated financial results for the three months ended 31 March 2021, reporting a 6% decrease in revenues year-on-year to KWD382 million (USD1.27 billion), while EBITDA decreased 7% annually to KWD158 million. The company booked a net profit of KWD45 million in the three months under review, down 5% y-o-y. Zain Group highlighted that net income for the quarter grew operationally by 4% y-o-y, when excluding the one-time gain from the sale and lease back of towers in Kuwait during 1Q20.
Further, foreign currency translation impact – mainly due to currency devaluations in Sudan and Iraq – cost the group USD177 million in revenue and USD66 million in EBITDA. Zain Group invested USD415 million in CAPEX (33% of revenues), predominantly in expansion of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure, spectrum licence fees, 4G upgrades and new network sites across its markets, and 5G rollouts in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. During the quarter, Zain Iraq and Zain South Sudan launched high speed 4G commercial services.
In operational terms, Zain Group reported a consolidated customer base of 48.5 million at 31 March 2021. In Kuwait subscribers decreased 9.1% y-o-y to 2.5 million, while the Saudi Arabian unit served 7.2 million subscribers (down from 7.5 million in Q1 2020). Zain Sudan’s subscriber base stood at 17.2 million at 31 March 2021, up 6.2% y-o-y. Zain Iraq, meanwhile, saw its customer base increase 0.6% y-o-y to serve 16.2 million users at end-March 2021, while the user base in Jordan expanded by 2.9% to 3.6 million.
Mr. Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, commented: ‘Our operational focus has been centred on expanding and monetising our 4G, FTTH and 5G networks creating vast and lucrative opportunities particularly related to Enterprise (B2B) services to government and businesses of all sizes. At the same time, we continue to make significant progress in raising the company to new heights and maximising value for shareholders through our ‘’4Sight’’ strategy. We are evolving the company’s core telecom business and building on its many strengths to selectively invest in growth verticals beyond standard mobile services.’