Mobile Telecommunications Co. (Zain) boosted its first-quarter net profit by 2.7%, missing analyst forecasts as the firm invests in its aggressive expansion abroad, a Reuters report said.
Zain, which operates in 20 countries in the Middle East and Africa, moved into Saudi Arabia earlier this year and bought Iraqi operator Iraqna for $1.2 billion in 2007, the Reuters report said.
Net income for the three months to March 31 rose 2.7% to 73.3 million dinars from a year earlier, the the third-largest Arab telecoms company by market value said.
It was the smallest profit since the first quarter of last year, according to Reuters data.
But the number of subscribers rose by 54% to 45.6 million by the end of March, Zain said in a statement released after markets closed. 'The financial performance was excellent, despite the huge investments which it is undertaking to modernise and expand its operations in many markets,' CEO Saad Barrak said in a statement.