Zain Group Reports Stable Q1 2024 Financials Despite Sudan Crisis Impact

Zain Group’s Q1 2024 results show stable revenue at KD 466M, despite challenges from the Sudan crisis.

Zain Group has announced its consolidated financial results for the first quarter ending March 31, 2024, with the company serving 42.4 million customers. The company reported stable revenue of KD 466 million (USD 1.5 billion) and an EBITDA of KD 148 million (USD 480 million), achieving a 32% EBITDA margin. Net income stood at KD 29 million (USD 95 million), with earnings per share at 7 Fils (USD 0.02).

The group maintained stable revenue due to strong performance across its main operations. Iraq saw a revenue increase of 14%, Kuwait 7%, KSA 5%, and Jordan 3%. This positive performance came despite the ongoing crisis in Sudan, which posed significant operational challenges, including network disruptions and limited coverage. The crisis led to a significant impact on the customer base, with an estimated 6.5 million people internally displaced and 2 million migrating to neighboring countries. However, recovery efforts and a new data center are expected to drive customer growth in Q2 2024.

The decrease in net income compared to the restated Q1 2023 figures is primarily due to a one-time gain from the Zain KSA tower transaction. The restatement of the Q1 2023 consolidated statement was necessary due to significant judgments and estimations involved in assessing the transfer of control. Excluding this impact, the year-on-year decline in net income would be significantly less. Notably, the restatement had no impact on Zain Group’s net profit and consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2023, as all necessary adjustments had been accounted for.

Data revenue grew by 1%, reaching USD 595 million, which represents 39% of the Group’s overall revenue. During the quarter, the Group invested USD 39 million in CAPEX for the rollout of 5G and Fiber to the Home (FTTH). The customer bases for 5G services in Kuwait, KSA, Bahrain, and Jordan continued to expand.

The Board is working closely with executive management to address major socio-economic challenges in several key markets. In Sudan in particular, we acknowledge and pray for the safety of our dedicated workforce, who are making many personal sacrifices to provide meaningful connectivity to the local community. Zain Sudan is an important member of the Zain Group family and we will spare no efforts in supporting the team there to maintain the network and general operations.

Notwithstanding, we remain focused on mitigating the impact of the Sudan crisis through different Group-wide operational measures including cost optimization, network upgrades, driving enterprise revenues, and the development of new lucrative business verticals across our footprint. Moreover, our Environmental, Social and Governance practices continue to be at the forefront of our sustainability and business strategies.

Mr. Osamah Al Furaih, Chairman of the Board, Zain

Considering the excellent operational progress and digital transformation we have undertaken across our markets, it’s unfortunate that exceptional circumstances and network challenges in Sudan severely impacted our financial performance and customer base. Nevertheless, we are pleased with the overall revenue growth across other key markets, and through our mitigation efforts, we are currently seeing improvements on multiple levels in Sudan from the many network service availability and customer initiatives we are undertaking.

Thanks to the on-the-ground efforts of our brave and talented team, whose safety remains a priority for us, they have focused on maintaining connectivity through the establishment of a new data recovery center in Port Sudan, which is playing a critical role in connecting families. This is a real success story as we continue to offer connectivity and grow the business in these uncertain times.

Mr. Bader Al-Kharafi, Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, Zain

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