Kuwait's Zain Q1 profit rises 8 pct

DUBAI, April 21 Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:22am EDT

DUBAI, April 21 (Reuters) - Zain, Kuwait's No.1 telecom operator by subscribers, reported an 8 percent rise in first-quarter profit on Monday, beating analysts' estimates.

The former monopoly, which operates in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa, made a net profit of 55.9 million dinars ($198.5 million) in the three months to March 31. It did not provide a year-earlier figure in dinars, but its previous financial statements show it made a profit of 52 million dinars in the first three months of 2013.

Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast Zain would make a quarterly profit of 50 million dinars and 53.3 million dinars respectively. ($1 = 0.2816 Kuwaiti Dinars) (Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by David French)