Kuwait-based telecoms giant Zain Group has announced its consolidated financial results for the three months ended 31 March 2014, reporting a 4% annualised increase in its revenues, to KWD311.1 million (USD1.1 billion). In the period under review, data revenues increased by 27% due to improved investment in 3G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology; Zain notes that its proceeds from data-related services now represent 15% of its total service revenues. Zain’s earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the quarter reached KWD132.2 million, a 5% increase on the KWD126.7 million reported in 1Q13, while the company booked net income of KWD55.9 million for the period under review, up by 8% y-o-y.
In operational terms, Zain Group reported 5% growth in its consolidated customer base, which reached 46.2 million at 31 March 2014, equivalent to over two million net additions in the twelve months under review. In Kuwait, subscribers increased by 8% y-o-y, to 2.5 million, while the company’s Bahrain unit reported 13% growth in its customer base over the same period. Operations in Jordan resulted in 5% annual growth in the number of domestic subscribers, while Zain Iraq saw its customer base grow by 18% to 16 million, as the local unit’s networks expanded to cover Northern Iraq. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia contributed 8.7 million users to the total subscriber base, equivalent to 10% annual growth. Elsewhere, Sudan reported a total of 11.9 million users, while ‘several challenges’ in South Sudan resulted in a reduction in its customer base, although the group stopped short of reporting its precise subscriber base within the country. Further, Zain secured another three-month extension to its management contract in Lebanon until end-June 2014.
Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer commented: ‘Across many of our markets we are witnessing growth in key financial indicators as we drive efficiency and innovation. The healthy 27% annual growth rate in data revenues, with data now reflecting 15% of all Zain Group service revenues, emphasises the appeal and quality of our product and service offerings, and justifies the huge investment we continue to make in our 3G and 4G networks.’