Zain says Saudi Arabian video is booming

By:
Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

Zain reports half of Saudi Arabia revenues come from video after network upgrade

Middle East operator Zain makes a quarter of all its revenues from data services – and in its Saudi Arabian operation 50% of revenues come from data.

The company, based in Kuwait, said Zain Saudi Arabia made its first ever profit in the half-yearly results, announced today. “The turnaround and cost optimisation programme in place at the [Saudi Arabia] operation, combined with investment in network upgrades and the introduction of appealing data monetisation initiatives bolstered all key financial indicators,” said the company.

But overall it was a difficult half-year for the Zain group, which has businesses in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, South Sudan and Sudan, as well as in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, who replaced Scott Gegenheimer as group CEO earlier this year, said the company had been affected by devaluation in Sudan.

“At the same time, the various operational management teams are focused on dealing with such costly and unavoidable socio-economic challenges across several key markets and are laying the foundations to take full advantage of improving conditions, once they occur,” he said.

Mohannad Al-Kharafi, chairman of the board of directors, said: “The company’s performance in the first half has been satisfactory given the various operational and forex challenges we face across our footprint.”

The company said in its half-yearly statement: “The continued social unrest in Iraq, coupled with intense price competition affected all key financial indicators from the operation. Similarly, social unrest and currency devaluation impacted Zain South Sudan results.”

In addition “intense price competition in Kuwait coupled with additional operational costs in network expansion and upgrades hampered the operation and consequently Zain Group’s overall financial metrics”.

Total revenues were the equivalent of $1.67 billion, with EBITDA at $695 million and net income at $270 million. The company had 45.2 million customers at the end of June. Gegenheimer stayed with Zain after the March 2017 management change, as chief executive of operations.