Good spell for Zain, despite tumultuous 2011

Zain Group's net profit edged up in 2011, in what was a tumultuous year for the Kuwaiti telecommunications firm.

The company reported net income of $1.033 billion last year, a 1 per cent increase on 2010. Zain - which means 'good' in English - also reported an 8 per cent rise in its customer base.

Those figures do not take into account the sale of Zain's African assets to India's Bharti Airtel, which added $2.652 billion to the firm's balance sheet in 2010.

Increased profits came during the most tumultuous year in Zain's history.

Last year, a $12 billion deal to sell a controlling stake in Zain to the UAE's Etisalat fell through. Zain also failed to offload its stake in Zain Saudi for a reported $950 million.

For the full year of 2011, Zain reported revenues of $4.79 billion, a 2 per cent increase on the previous year. That was on the back of a higher customer base, which stood at 40.2 million last December, an 8 per cent rise on the same period in 2010.

Zain's board of Directors recommended a cash dividend of $0.23 per share, which is subject to approval at its Annual General Assembly.

Asaad Al Banwan, chairman of Zain's board of directors, acknowledged that many markets suffered in 2011.

"In light of the difficult financial conditions, many markets in the region are still suffering because of the global financial crisis," he said.

"However, the group was able to maintain growth levels in its main financial indicators, though profitability levels were severely affected because of the continuing volatility of the currency exchange rates in some of its main markets, which cost the group $124 million in 2011."

Zain has operations in Kuwait, its home territory, as well as Bahrain, Iraq, Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Published: February 14, 2012 04:00 AM

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