UPDATE 1-Kuwait's Zain posts net profit fall in line with forecasts

Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:15am EDT

* Q2 net profit down 2 pct at 59 mln dinars

* Sixth profit fall in eight quarters

* First-half net profit up 3 pct at 115 mln dinars (Adds detail, context)

DUBAI, July 16 (Reuters) - Zain, Kuwait's No.1 telecoms operator by subscribers, reported a 2 percent retreat in second-quarter net profit on Wednesday, its sixth quarterly decline in the past eight quarters, in line with analysts' expectations.

The former monopoly, which operates in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa, made a net profit of 59 million dinars ($209 million) in the three months to June 30, down from 60.65 million dinars in the same period last year.

The figure was in line with the average forecast of analysts polled by Reuters, who expected a quarterly profit of 59.22 million dinars.

Zain made a first-half net profit of 115 million dinars, up 3 percent from last year, Zain said in a statement.

Data revenues, which accounted for 15 percent of total group revenues, climbed 21 percent in the first half of the year.

The company had posted falling profits in five of the preceding seven quarters as tougher competition at home and a steep drop in the value of Sudan's currency, where it is the biggest operator, weighed on the bottom line.

Foreign exchange losses in Sudan and Iraq, which contributes 35 percent of Zain's total customer base and 39 percent of group revenue, cost the company $31 million during the second quarter, the statement said.

Second-quarter revenue was 316 million dinars, against 312.93 million dinars a year ago.

In Kuwait, Zain competes with Wataniya, owned by Qatar's Ooredoo, and Viva, an affiliate of Saudi Telecom Co. ($1 = 0.2823 Kuwaiti Dinars) (Reporting by Nadia Saleem; Editing by David French and David Goodman)

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