Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces its consolidated financial results for the full-year 2018, and fourth-quarter ended 31 December, 2018.
Zain serves 49 million customers, reflecting a 5% increase year-on-year (Y-o-Y). For the full-year 2018, Zain Group generated consolidated revenues of KD 1.3 billion (USD 4.4 billion), an impressive 28% Y-o-Y growth, while consolidated EBITDA for the period increased by 25% Y-o-Y to reach KD 519 million (USD 1.7 billion), reflecting an EBITDA margin of 39%. Consolidated net income reached KD 197 million (USD 649 million), up 23% and reflecting Earnings Per Share of 45 Fils (USD 0.15).
For the full-year, foreign currency translation impact, predominantly due to the 47% currency devaluation in Sudan from an average of 16.9 to 31.9 (SDG / USD), deprived the company USD 216 million in revenue, USD 79 million in EBITDA and USD 27 million in net income. The Board of Directors of Zain Group recommended a cash dividend of 30 fils per share subject to the Annual General Assembly and regulatory approvals.
Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, Bader Al-Kharafi commented, “Our remarkable Group financial performance gives us confidence going into 2019 and beyond. These exemplary results are extremely satisfying on multiple levels as they confirm that our digital transformation strategy is on track. They also reflect the dedicated efforts of Zain’s 6,000-strong talented workforce, who work with passion every day, in all that they do.” Al Kharafi added, “The results are even more impressive when the various operational, regulatory, social and forex challenges we face across our footprint are taken into account.”
Al-Kharafi continued, “We are creating the right foundation at Zain and investing heavily to be able to benefit from developments such as the forthcoming commercialization of 5G, the growing needs of enterprise users, and the interconnectivity created by the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Initiatives such as optimizing the synergies between the Group, Omantel and all operations, huge investments in fiber and network upgrades and opening up of our APIs across key markets are geared towards making us a more agile operator that can reap the lucrative opportunities in the digital space and move quickly in the face of the sweeping changes in the ICT sector.”
Furthermore, Al-Kharafi recognized numerous milestones during the year that included, “The value accretive consolidation of Zain Saudi Arabia that has seen its market capitalization substantially increase over the last three months, the ongoing revival of Zain Iraq reporting a 70% increase in profit, and the robust revenue growth in data monetization programs that accounts for 33% of Zain’s overall service revenues. Moreover, our focus and investment in exploiting Enterprise (B2B) opportunities, cloud services, as well as smart city initiatives in key markets, particularly Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, are growing efficiently. We will continue to foster these areas of the business.”Al-Kharafi concluded, “Zain is evolving into an organization for the 21st century from a number of different perspectives – operationally, financially, through our Gender Diversity initiative, and our corporate sustainability programs supporting the youth and digital innovation like the recent ZINC initiative in Kuwait and established ZINC facility in Jordan. We are establishing an ecosystem of services based on delivering the highest quality experiences to our customers, and we are firm believers that this outlook will keep us relevant and successful long into the future.”