Kuwaiti telecoms operator Zain has recorded a 17 per cent increase in net income to $507m for the first half of 2011.

Revenues for the same period rose 2 per cent to $2.4bn. Earnings per share reached $0.13.

“Although consolidated revenues increased a moderate 2 per cent, it is very gratifying that the company attained animpressive 17 per cent net income growth,” says Asaad al-Banwan, chairman of Zain Group.

According to Kunal Bajaj, telecoms analyst at HSBC, the results were below expectations.

The group’s customer base grew 16 per cent to 39.6 million, driven by the expansion of its Iraqi operations into the Kurdistan region.

The company is awaiting decisions for South Sudan’s government on new licensing terms before it expands its operations in the new country. It has already set aside $110m to invest in fibre-optics and its core network in South Sudan for 2011.