KUWAIT CITY, March 28: Zain Group, the leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa announces the holding of its Annual General Assembly (AGM) at the company’s headquarters in Shuwaikh, Kuwait today.
After satisfying the legal quorum requirements with 74.97%, the shareholders approved the distribution of 35 fils per share ($0.11) for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 to shareholders registered on the company records as of April 11, 2018. This entitlement date reflects an additional 10 working day period after the holding of the AGM as per new Boursa Kuwait regulations.
Additionally, after passing a number of items on the agenda, the AGM saw the election of two new members to the Zain Group Board of Directors for the next two years, namely Abdulrahman Mohammad Al Asfour and a Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) representative.
The Board of Directors met immediately after the election and accordingly the new board is now composed of the following: Ahmed Tahous Al Tahous as the Chairman of Zain Group, Bader Al-Kharafi as Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, Talal bin Said Al Mamari, Mehdi Mohamed Jawad Abdullah Abduwani, Saud Ahmed Abdulkarim Al Nahari, Martial Antoine Marcel Caratti, Nigel Kevin Govett, Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) representative, and Abdulrahman Mohammad Al Asfour (independent).
During the AGM, Zain Group presented its financial results for the full-year 2017, with consolidated net income increasing by 2% to KD 160 million ($527 million), reflecting Earnings Per Share of 39 fils ($0.13). Consolidated revenues amounted to KD 1.03 billion ($3.4 billion), down 5% year-on-year (Y-o-Y), while consolidated EBITDA for the period decreased by 19% Y-o-Y to KD 414 million ($1.37 billion), reflecting an EBITDA margin of 40%.
The Group’s financial indicators highlighted the strong operational performance of the company’s operations for 2017, but challenges associated with the security and economic conditions in several the Group’s markets, as well as the continued impact of currency fluctuations impacted the consolidated financial results for the year.
For 2017, foreign currency translation impact, predominantly due to the 53% currency devaluation in Sudan from an average of 8.0 to 16.9 (SDG/USD), cost the company $494 million in revenue, $213 million in EBITDA and $82 million in net income. Excluding the above-mentioned currency translation impact, Y-o-Y revenues would have grown by 8% and net income growth would have been 17%.
Zain’s customer base reached 46.6 million at the end of 2017 with the Group’s investments in upgrading and developing its networks paying off as Group data revenues (excluding SMS and VAS) increased by 3% during the year, representing 25% of the Group’s consolidated revenues.