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Zain Saudi Arabia to raise capital, convert debt

Zain Saudi Arabia to raise capital, convert debt. (AFP)

By Reuters

Zain Saudi Arabia, a listed division of Kuwait operator Zain, will seek a capital increase and convert some debt into equity in 2010, Zain Saudi's Chief Executive Saad Al Barrak said yesterday.

"We expect to complete the capital increase before the end of 2010," Barrak told a news conference.

Barrak said he would seek to convert a $577 million loan into equity in the firm, which is 25 per cent owned by Kuwait's Zain, now in talks to sell parts of its African operations to India's Bharti Airtel.

Barrak, until recently the chief executive of the Kuwaiti parent firm Zain, said he expects Zain Saudi revenue to rise by 80 per cent and customers to reach 7.5 million by end-2010 compared to six million at end-2009.

The kingdom's newest mobile phone operator also expects to record positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, or Ebitda, a key measure of a firm's raw earnings power, the company's Chief Operating Officer Ismael Fikri said. "2010 will be a year of growth in value," Fikri said at a news conference. "We expect a positive Ebitda in 2010."

According to some estimates, Zain has around KD1.8 billion (Dh22.77bn) in debt to pay down.


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