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Wed 25 Mar 2015 06:38 PM

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Kuwait's KIPCO says aiming to double net profit by 2018

Kuwait Projects Co also says it has no plans to sell or list its pay-TV business OSN

Kuwait's KIPCO says aiming to double net profit by 2018
David Butorac, CEO of Orbit Showtime Network. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) wants to double its net profit by 2018, according to a statement on Wednesday which also indicated the end of plans to sell or list its pay-television business OSN.

The Gulf state's largest listed investment company, with interests in media, industrials, financials and real estate, posted a full-year net profit of 46.1 million dinars ($154 million) in 2014, up 15 percent on the previous year.

It plans to achieve its 2018 profit target through earnings growth "across our core companies, particularly those in the financial services and media sectors, and lower cost of debt", according to Faisal al-Ayyar, vice chairman of KIPCO.

At the centre of this would be OSN, with the company potentially delivering $1 billion of dividend payments to its shareholders over the next five years, including $100 million in 2015 subject to approvals, the statement said.

"KIPCO sees enormous potential for continuing growth in the number of customers, revenue and profits based on [OSN's] favourable demographics," the statement said, adding that OSN's net profit jumped 66 percent in 2014. It did not provide a monetary figure.

OSN, 60.5-percent owned by KIPCO with Saudi Arabia's Mawarid Group controlling the rest, has been at the centre of speculation about its future for the past year.

Last March, KIPCO said it planned to list the Dubai-based operator in London by the end of 2014, a plan then contradicted by OSN Chief Executive David Butorac in May, who said there were no imminent listing plans for the company.

A $3.2 billion takeover offer for OSN from an unnamed US private equity firm - which sources said at the time was Hellman & Friedman - was then rejected by KIPCO in August.

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