Zain KSA, the Saudi Arabian branch of Kuwaiti mobile operator Zain, has announced its results for the first quarter of 2011, posting disappointing net losses of SR532m ($142m) despite revenues increasing by 36 per cent year-on-year to SR1.5bn. Net losses in the first quarter of 2010 were SR663m.

Zain KSA is due to be taken over by Bahrain’s Batelco and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding. The consortium submitted its offer in March 2011, offering $950m for the 25 per cent stake.  

There have been talks of another acquisition attempt by Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) after Zain shareholders voted off Sheikh Ali al-Sabah, one of the main opponents to the deal and replaced him with Bader al-Kharafi of the Kharafi Group, which led the acquisition talks.

French-based media and communication company Vivendi, which attempted a takeover in 2009 and Turkcell, which expressed interest in May 2010, and again in January 2011, are also thought to be in talks with Zain.

“These are shareholder issues. If they agree to an acquisition, they will tell the management, but so far we have not been told anything,” says Jack Hakimian, Zain Group’s strategy director.