UPDATE 1-Telecoms firm Zain Saudi posts narrowed Q2 net loss

Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:14am EDT

* Loss 329 mln riyals vs 370 mln riyals a year ago

* Internet business doubles subscribers (Adds detail, context)

DUBAI, July 16 (Reuters) - Telecom operator Zain Saudi reported a narrowed second-quarter loss on Wednesday as it cut costs and benefited from favourable legal judgements, although the loss was slightly bigger than analysts had expected.

The firm, which began operations in 2008, claimed 15 percent of Saudi's mobile subscribers at the end of 2013 and has struggled to break the dominance of better-resourced rivals Saudi Telecom Co and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily).

Chief Executive Hassan Kabbani, an industry veteran appointed in September, told Reuters in April that Zain Saudi aimed to break even within five years.

The company, 37-percent owned by Kuwait's Zain, made a net loss of 329 million riyals ($87.7 million) in the three months to June 30, according to a bourse filing. That compares with a loss of 370 million riyals in the prior-year period.

Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast a loss of 310.8 million riyals.

The company said it had made its operations more efficient, benefited from favourable judgements in court cases and extended the lifespan of some assets.

Zain KSA also reported significant growth in its internet business year, with revenue and subscribers soaring 94 percent and 107 percent respectively.

Parent company Zain reported a 2 percent fall in second-quarter net profit earlier on Wednesday, its sixth quarterly decline in the past eight quarters but in line with analyst expectations. ($1 = 3.7502 Saudi Riyals) (Reporting by David French; editing by Olzhas Auyezov and Tom Pfeiffer)

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