Zain Group was hit by currency devaluations in Iraq and Sudan which led to a slight decline in Q2 revenue although net profit rose, as the company highlighted success in its 4G, FTTH and 5G plays across key markets.

Revenue of KWD369 million ($1.2 billion) was slightly down from KWD378 million in Q2 2020, mainly due to currency headwinds in Sudan and Iraq which cost the group a total $215 million in revenue.

It did, however book a 17 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit to KWD41 million and the board recommended a half year dividend of 10 fils per share, which it said was a result of a strong balance sheet and solid operational performance.

Commenting on the results, vice chairman and group CEO Nasser Al-Kharafi said the interim dividend payment was the first in Zain’s history and reaffirms the three-year minimum 33 fils dividend policy commitments made in 2019.

He added “robust growth” in Q2 reaffirmed the suggess of its 4sight strategy, which focuses on digital transformation along with investing in, and generating revenue from, 4G, FTTH and 5G, and seeking new business verticals and sources of income.

Al-Kharafi said currency devaluations in Iraq and Sudan were unavoidable and, to minimise the impact, management had “proactively undertaken decisive cost optimisation initiatives”, with both markets undergoing price revamps and offering new revenue-generating data packages.

Zain added most markets recorded growth in Q2, with Al-Kharafi highlighting 5G development in Kuwait, and gains in Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.