Kuwait-based telecoms group Zain has published its consolidated financial results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2021, reporting a 5% decrease in revenues year-on-year to KWD1.5 billion (USD5.0 billion), while EBITDA decreased 5% annually to KWD628 million. The company booked a net profit of KWD186 million in the twelve months under review, up 2% y-o-y.
Further, foreign currency translation impact – mainly due to currency devaluations in Sudan and Iraq – cost the group USD962 million in revenue and USD479 million in EBITDA. Zain Group invested USD1.1 billion in CAPEX (21% of revenues), predominantly in 5G rollouts in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain; 4G upgrades across Iraq, Jordan, South Sudan and Sudan; expansion of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure; and spectrum licence fees.
In operational terms, Zain Group reported a consolidated subscription base of 48.9 million at 31 December 2021. In Kuwait subscriptions decreased 3.8% y-o-y to 2.5 million, while the Saudi Arabian unit reported eight million subscriptions (up 5.3% y-o-y). Zain Sudan’s subscription base stood at 16.6 million at 31 December 2021, down 1.8% y-o-y. Zain Iraq, meanwhile, saw its subscription base increase 1.2% y-o-y to serve 16.4 million at end-2021, while the subscription base in Jordan reached 3.6 million (3.5 million in 2020).
Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, commented: ‘The Group’s solid performance for 2021 reflects the success of the many operational and monetisation initiatives implemented by the management across all markets. The board’s recommendation of KWD0.023 per share dividend for H2 in addition to the semi-annual KWD0.010 dividend, totalling KWD0.033 for the year, reflects a 77% payout ratio, one of the highest in the region. This provides a clear indication of the strength of our financial solvency, and the company’s ability to execute on its strategic profitable growth plans, despite the continuing challenges of the pandemic and impact of unavoidable currency devaluations on the business.’