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Tue 21 Jul 2009 08:22 PM

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Kuwait's Zain Q2 net up 5.5% as subs rise

CEO, citing improving currency stability in the firm's African ops, expects an even better second half.

Kuwaiti mobile operator Zain, the third-largest Arab telecoms firm by market value, posted a 5.5 percent rise in second-quarter net profit as the number of subscribers rose.Net profit in the first half was 154.5 million dinars ($538.3 million), Zain said in a statement on Tuesday, without giving a quarterly figure.

Reuters calculated a second-quarter net profit of 78.8 million dinars based on previous financial data, which showed the firm made 75.7 million dinars in the first quarter.

The number of customers rose 37 percent to 69.5 million in the first half, the statement said.Zain said revenues in the six months to June 30 rose 24.1 percent to 1.16 billion dinars compared with the same period last year, and EBITDA advanced 46.3 percent to 512.2 million dinars. It gave no quarterly data.

First-half results include a gain of 26.6 million dinars from an initial public offering in Zambia and losses from currency fluctuations of 31.3 million dinars, Chief Executive Saad al-Barrak said in the statement.

"With improving currency stability in many of our African operations we expect even better in the second half," he added.Zain announced at the start of the year a goal of 30 percent net profit growth but a spokesman reiterated on Tuesday this target looked "a litte bit ambitious".Zain, which is partly owned by Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund, said on Monday it still hoped to sell its African unit despite French media and telecoms giant Vivendi calling off talks to buy a majority stake in the business.Zain has spent billions to expand in the Middle East and Africa and operates in 23 countries to offset rising competition at home in Kuwait where VIVA, an affiliate of Saudi Telecom, started operating as third mobile firm last year. (Reuters)

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