February 8, 2018 / 5:24 AM / a year ago

Kuwait's Zain reports 16 pct Q4 profit increase

DUBAI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Kuwait-based telecom operator Zain Group reported a 16 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit and annual profit rose 2 percent, partly helped by a turnaround in the Saudi and Iraqi operations.

Net profit in the October to December period was 37 million dinars ($123.28 million), compared to 32 million dinars in same year ago period, the company reported on Wednesday after markets closed.

SICO Bahrain had projected Zain, which operates in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa, would make a net profit of 38.93 million dinars.

Revenue was flat at 262 million dinars, and the company said currency translation had cost it about 54 million in revenue and $6 million net income for the quarter which it largely blamed on a devaluation of the Sudanese pound.

Annual net income rose 2 percent to 160 million dinars, and revenue declined 5 percent to 1.03 billion compared to the previous year. Total number of subscribers decreased 1 percent in 2017 to 46.6 million dinars.

Zain said its Saudi Arabian unit recorded annual net profit for first time since inception and Iraqi returned to profit as customer base rose 16 percent.

Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) bought a 21.9 percent stake in Zain last year, making it the company’s second largest shareholder after Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund, the Kuwait Investment Authority. ($1 = 0.3001 Kuwaiti dinars) (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Saeed Azhar)

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