Zain Group booked a 7 per cent increase in Q1 2018 profit, despite foreign exchange and regulatory headwinds, as the company said its focus on promoting “digital lifestyles” to its customers was paying off.
Year-on-year, data usage was up 10 per cent across its eight markets and now makes up 26 per cent of group revenue. In addition to the boost in data usage, the company hailed strong performances in its home market of Kuwait and Iraq.
Net profit increased to KWD41 million ($137 million) on revenue of KWD259 million. Customer numbers were up 2 per cent year-on-year across its footprint to 46.9 million, despite a loss of 1.7 million customers in Saudi Arabia during the year.
Zain attributed the decline in Saudi Arabia to an “exodus of expat community” and new regulatory measures.
In its earnings statement, it added were it not for a collapse in the value of Sudan’s currency – which fell 38 per cent year-on-year – and adhering to new accounting standards, its revenue and profit figures would have increased by much more.
The company estimated the decline in the value of the currency in Sudan, and other foreign exchange headwinds, cost it KWD11.5 million of revenue and KWD2.1 million of profit in Q1 2018 alone.
Vice-chairman and group CEO, Bader Al-Kharafi (pictured) said: “Management’s transformational and digitisation efforts are resulting in sound operational progress across several of our key markets.”
“If it were not for unavoidable externalities such as the prolonged currency issue in Sudan and various adverse factors in Saudi Arabia,” he added, “results would have been even more impressive.”