DUBAI Oct 17 Telecom operator Zain Saudi
reported a widening third-quarter loss on Monday,
meeting analysts' forecasts as costs rose and revenue dropped.
The company has yet to make a quarterly profit since
launching services in 2008 and has battled to compete against
better-resourced rivals Saudi Telecom Co (STC) and
Etihad Etisalat (Mobily).
Zain Saudi, 37-percent owned by Kuwait's Zain,
made a net loss of 267 million riyals ($71.2 million) in the
three months to Sept. 30, according to a bourse statement. This
compares with a net loss of 223 million riyals in the prior-year
Five analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast Zain
Saudi would make a quarterly net loss of 268.3 million riyals.
The company cited higher depreciation costs and financing
charges for the widening loss.
Quarterly revenue of 1.63 billion riyals was down 7 percent
from the same period a year ago, with the company blaming this
in part on the slow summer season and the decline in the number
of pilgrims. Lower income from mobile termination rate also
negatively impacted its revenue.
($1 = 3.7495 riyals)
(Reporting By Tom Arnold)