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Zain profits fall as pandemic hits pilgrim packages

July 16, 2020 00:00:00

RIYADH, July 15 (Arab News): Saudi telecom company Zain KSA said profits more than halved as the halt of the Umra season contributed to a decline in the sale of visitor packages.

The telco reported second-quarter net income of about SR59 million, a 54.6 per cent decline on the year-earlier period, according to its preliminary results filing published on the Tadawul on Tuesday.

"The estimated impact from Covid-19 outbreak in Q2 potential revenue is SR186 million mainly from the drop in prepaid, postpaid, devices, and visitor packages and the halt of the Umra season" the company said in a statement.

Regional telecom companies generate millions of dollars in earnings from the sale of prepaid data packages for visitors each year, but the spread of the coronavirus pandemic meant such sales all but dried up as travel came to a standstill.

Zain said that the decline in revenues was partially offset by a drop in operating expenditure and better cost management to limit the impact of the pandemic.

It spent about SR1.86 billion on capital expenditure in the first half of 2020, with some SR607 million of that related to the acquisition of new spectrum in addition to the rollout 5G.

Zain KSA became the Kingdom's third mobile network operator when it launched in 2008.

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