REFILE-UPDATE 1-Zain Saudi Q4 net loss narrows by 4 pct

Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:01am EST

(Adds dateline)

* Q4 net loss 443 mln riyals vs net loss 461 mln riyals a yr ago

* Loss narrowing due to decrease in financial charges

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Indebted telecom operator Zain Saudi reported a 4 percent narrowing of fourth-quarter loss but still missed analyst forecasts, the firm said in a bourse statement on Monday.

Saudi Arabia's No.3 mobile company, an affiliate of Kuwait's Zain, made a net loss of 443 million riyals ($118.1 million) in the three months to Dec. 31. This compares with a net loss of 461 million riyals in the prior-year period.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Zain Saudi would make a quarterly loss of 387 million riyals.

In a bourse statement, the company attributed the narrowing loss to a decrease in financial charges.

Quarterly gross profit was 739 million riyals, up from 691 million riyals a year ago.

Loss from operations widened by 23 percent to 262 million riyals, compared with 213 million riyals for the same quarter last year.

The company made a full-year loss of 1.7 billion riyals in 2012. This compares with a loss of 1.93 billion riyals a year earlier.

Zain Saudi has struggled under mounting losses and multi-billion dollar debts.

The firm extended the maturity of a 9-billion-riyal ($2.40 billion) Islamic loan for another six weeks on Dec. 19, the sixth time it has deferred payment.

Parent firm Zain in July increased its stake in Zain Saudi to 37 percent from 25 percent after underwriting the affiliate's capital restructuring. ($1 = 3.7502 Saudi riyals) (Reporting by Asma Alsharif and Matt Smith; editing by Sami Aboudi)

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