Sunday, September 21, 2008

Zain Raises US$4.49 billion for Mobile Network in Middle East

The Zain Group, which was originally established in 1983 in Kuwait as the region's first mobile operator, has raised an unprecedented US$4.49 billion (KWD1.2 billion) in capital to support its expansion across the Middle East and Africa. The number of subscribed shares exceeded 1.4 billion, bringing the total number of Zain shares to 4.28 billion with total shareholders' equity reaching US$6.42 billion. The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) through its local and international branches acted as the receiving bank for the capital increase.

Zain operates in the following countries: Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In Lebanon, the company manages the network on behalf of the government operating as mtc-touch. The company's mobile operations in Ghana will begin by the end of 2008.

In August, Zain launched services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At launch date, Zain's coverage area reached 53% of the population in 36 major cities and 14 highways spanning over 4,000 kms. The remaining coverage area will be attained initially through a complimentary countrywide roaming service. Zain will introduce high-speed 3.5G broadband technology to approximately half of the Saudi population offering the latest 3.5G services that include television, video-calling, rich multimedia content and even faster internet access. Zain's network will be further expanded in stages to eventually cover the entire Kingdom.

Zain promotes cross-border communications across its networks at favorable rates free of high roaming charges.

  • For the first half of 2008, Zain Group recorded consolidated revenues of US$ 3.488 billion. The company's consolidated EBITDA reached US$ 1.305 billion. Zain consolidated net profits reached US$ 551.5 million. Year on year customer growth across the two continents where Zain operates was 58% with the Zain Group serving 50.74 million managed active customers at 30 June, 2008.

  • In January 2008, Nokia Siemens Networks announced a contract valued at approximately US$1 billion to roll out a state-of--the-art greenfield mobile network in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on behalf of Zain