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Kuwaiti mobile operator posts 2010 profit of $3.67b

Kuwaiti mobile operator posts 2010 profit of $3.67b

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwaiti mobile operator Zain swung to a small profit in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters calculations, missing analysts’ estimates.

Zain, subject to a $12 billion takeover bid from UAE’s Etisalat, posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $190 million compared with a net loss of 0.7 million dinars ($2.52 million) a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Reuters estimated an average fourth-quarter net profit of 78.7 million dinars ($283.4 million). Reuters calculated figures based on previous financial statements as Zain did not provide quarterly data. The company posted a net profit of 976 million dinars ($3.48 billion) in the first nine months of 2010.

Zain, which completed the sale of its African assets last year, reported a 2010 full-year profit of $3.67 billion dollars, a company statement said, up from 195 million dinars ($702.2 million) in the previous year.

Etisalat said on Wednesday it had accumulated all the information required for due diligence on Zain and will now analyse it and discuss the results with the seller.

“[Etisalat’s] stand towards Zain acquisition is not changed and Etisalat is still interested in the Zain deal,” a spokesman said in a statement.

Etisalat, the Gulf’s largest telecoms firm, offered in September to buy a 46-percent stake in Zain for KD1.7 a share from major Zain shareholder, Kuwaiti family conglomerate Kharafi Group.