Kuwaiti telco Zain posts 7.5% profit rise in Q1

Kuwaiti telecom giant Zain said Monday its net profit rose 7.5 percent on year in the first quarter of 2014, mainly on the back of returns from new technology investments.

Zain announced a net profit of 55.9 million dinars ($198.9 million) in the first three months of the year compared with 52 million dinars in the same period of 2013.

Revenues increased 4.7 percent to $1.1 billion at March 31, from $1.05 billion a year ago, it said in a statement.

Income from data services recorded a healthy 27-percent growth during the past 12 months as a result of huge investments in new technology, the company said.

The revenues represented "a significant achievement in today's environment, reflecting Zain's resilience in dealing competently with the rise in competition," said chairman Asaad al-Banwan.

In the past 12 months, the company added 2.6 million new clients, and its total subscribers rose to 46.2 million across eight countries.

Zain said it secured two major loans of $800 million and $250 million in the past two months, with the latter borrowed on the basis of Islamic Murabaha. Both deals were arranged by international and regional banks.

Besides Kuwait, Zain has operations in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. It also manages a unit in Morocco.

Zain, in which the government holds a stake of almost 25 percent, is one of three mobile operators in the emirate, along with the National Telecommunications Co. (Wataniya) and Kuwait Telecommunications Co. (VIVA).