Kuwaiti telecoms giant Zain reported a 13.2 percent fall in third quarter net profit Tuesday, blaming rising competition and exchange rate fluctuations.
The company posted net profit of 46 million dinars ($159 million) in the three months to September 30, compared to 53 million dinars ($183.4 million) in the same quarter last year.
Zain said foreign currency fluctuations, especially in Sudan and Iraq, and the appreciation of the US dollar against the Kuwaiti dinar had cost the company $111 million so far this year, half of it in the third quarter.
Net income for the first nine months dropped 3.0 percent to $557 million from $574.4 million in the same period of 2013.
"Zain’s ability to maintain relatively stable revenues and healthy profit margins for the first nine months of the year is an achievement, reflecting the company’s ability to deal competently with the rise in competition and the other business and social challenges it faces," chairman Asaad al-Banwan said.
Consolidated revenues at the end of the third quarter hit $3.18 billion, almost unchanged from $3.2 billion the previous year.
The company's customer base dropped by 1.4 percent to 43.7 million.
Besides Kuwait, where it is the largest mobile phone operator, Zain has operations in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. It also manages a unit in Morocco.
The Kuwaiti government holds a stake of almost 25 percent in the company, which is one of three mobile operators in the Gulf emirate, alongside National Telecommunications Co. (Wataniya) and Kuwait Telecommunications Co. (VIVA).