The subsidiary’s net profits increased from $9.5m in the first half of 2007 to about $47m in the same period in 2008.

Zain completed the acquisition of about 3 million mobile phone customers from IraQna, the Iraqi operator owned by Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, during the first half of 2008.

As a result of the acquisition and continued strong growth in customer numbers, Zain’s number of customers in the country reached 7.9 million by the end of June, up from 3.6 million a year before.

The Kuwait business increased its net profits by 16 per cent to $269m.

Zain’s Jordanian and Sudanese operations recorded smaller net profits than they did a year ago because of increased competition. Zain Jordan’s profits fell 11 per cent and Zain Sudan’s fell by 25 per cent.

The Bahraini subsidiary more than doubled customer numbers to 564,000, increased revenues by 62 per cent and net profits by 76 per cent.