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Zain Saudi Q4 net loss narrows on higher revenue

RIYADH, January 21, 2016

Zain Saudi's net loss narrowed in the fourth quarter from a year earlier thanks to a 7 per cent rise in revenue and better cost management, the telecoms company said in a bourse filing on Thursday.

The company, 37-per cent owned by Kuwait's Zain, made a net loss of 291 million riyals ($77.5 million) in the three months to Dec. 31 compared with a net loss of 306 million in the same period year earlier.

Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast Zain Saudi, which has struggled to compete with better resourced rivals Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), would make a loss of 247 million riyals and 232.7 million riyals respectively.

The company has not made a quarterly profit since launching services in 2008.

It cited a 7 percent rise in revenue as the reason for its smaller quarterly loss, as well as better cost management, though did not give a figure for quarterly revenue.

According to Thomson Reuters data, it posted revenue of 1.58 billion riyals in the same period of 2014.

Zain Saudi's overall subscriber base jumped 28 per cent year on year to stand at 12.4 million subscribers as of Dec. 31, 2015, the statement said.

After prolonged lobbying, the telecom regulator last year slashed call interconnection costs, which were among the highest in the region, in a move that was expected to help Zain Saudi win market share.

High interconnection costs benefit operators with large market shares because more calls originate and remain on their network and they do not pay such fees on those calls.-Reuters




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