Zain Saudi reports Q4 loss of $77m

Telecom operator has never made a quarterly profit since launching services in 2008
Zain Saudi reports Q4 loss of $77m
GCC telecoms
By Reuters
Thu 21 Jan 2016 12:01 PM

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

The company,
37-percent 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 Co (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 percent year on year to stand at 12.4 million
subscribers as of December 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.

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