Iraq, Sudan currency woes hit Zain earnings - Mobile World Live

Iraq, Sudan currency woes hit Zain earnings

10 MAY 2021

Zain Group suffered from the continuing impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus) on its business in Q1, with the operator also counting the cost of significant currency devaluations in its two largest markets by customer numbers.

In its Q1 earnings statement Zain estimated foreign exchange movements, chiefly in Sudan and Iraq, cost it $177 million in revenue during the period and $66 million in EBITDA.

Although lagging in revenue contributions, its operations in Sudan and Iraq are its two largest by active customer numbers with a combined base of 33.4 million out of a group-wide total of 48.5 million.

As has been the case with its peers and in its own recent quarters, Zain also continued to be hit by “widespread disruption in economic and social activity” as a result of the pandemic.

Across the company revenue fell 6 per cent year-on-year to KWD382 million ($1.3 billion), with net profit dropping 5 per cent to KWD45 million.

However, it added its Q1 2020 profit figure had been positively impacted by the sale of tower assets in Kuwait, making the two not directly comparable. Operationally, it noted profit was up 4 per cent.

Zain CEO Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi (pictured) said the “resilient performance for the quarter reflects the reality of the unavoidable combination of both Covid-19’s ongoing disruption on socio-economic activity and the impact of currency devaluations on the business”.

He added the company had recently taken measures in response to the currency devaluations in Sudan and Iraq including “revamping prices and offering new attractive data monetisation packages”.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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