Zain Saudi Arabia, the Saudi subsidiary of Kuwait’s Zain, has reported a 93 per cent increase in turnover during the fourth quarter of 2010, to SR1,728m ($461m), compared to SR895m for the fourth quarter of 2009.

The company made a loss of SR521m during the fourth quarter, a decline of 21 per cent compared to its loss of SR657m for the fourth quarter of 2009. 

Investment bank NCB Capital outlines high distribution and marketing costs for the failure to make a net profit.

Saad al-Barak, chief executive and managing director of Zain Saudi Arabia, says: “Our financial result for the fourth quarter is another achievement for Zain Saudi Arabia. The continuous improvement of revenues during the fourth quarter and the continuous decrease of the operational losses demonstrate Zain’s ability and its position at the market.’’

Zain’s subscriber base exceeded eight million by the end of December 2010. The Kuwaiti-owned Zain Group is still in negotiations for a possible acquisition by UAE’s Etisalat. If that deal goes ahead, it is possible that the Etisalat may be forced to sell off Zain Saudi Arabia because Etisalat already owns another Saudi mobile operator Etihad-Etisalat (Mobily).