Zain Saudi Q4 net loss narrows by 4%

Indebted telecom operator Zain Saudi reported a 4 percent narrowing of fourth-quarter loss but still missed analyst forecasts, the firm said in a bourse statement on Monday.

Saudi Arabia's number three mobile company, an affiliate of Kuwait's Zain, made a net loss of SAR443m (US$118.1m) in the three months to December 31. This compares with a net loss of SAR461m in the prior-year period.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Zain Saudi would make a quarterly loss of SAR387m.

In a bourse statement, the company attributed the narrowing loss to a decrease in financial charges.

Quarterly gross profit was SAR739m, up from SAR691m a year ago.

Loss from operations widened by 23 percent to SAR262m compared with SAR213m for the same quarter last year.

The company made a full-year loss of SAR1.7bn in 2012. This compares with a loss of SAR1.93bn a year earlier.

Zain Saudi has struggled under mounting losses and multi-billion dollar debts.

The firm extended the maturity of a SAR9bn (US$2.40bn) Islamic loan for another six weeks on December 19, the sixth time it has deferred payment.

Parent firm Zain in July increased its stake in Zain Saudi to 37 percent from 25 percent after underwriting the affiliate's capital restructuring.

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