DUBAI, Oct 17 (Reuters) - 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 period.
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)