Zain is a leading mobile telecommunications provider in the Middle East and North Africa.
We began life in 1983 in Kuwait, as Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC), the region’s first mobile operator, and commencing with the initiation of our expansion strategy in 2003, we grew rapidly in both the Middle East and Africa through the acquisition of several mobile operators across the region.
In September 2007, MTC rebranded to Zain in order to better reflect our growing status as a leading multi-national mobile service provider with global aspirations. Zain was thus adopted as the Group’s corporate master brand.
In 2008 we became the 4th largest mobile operator in the world in terms of geographical presence, with operations in 15 African countries and 7 in the Middle East.
We continued on our journey of growth and development, and in March 2009, entered into a 50/50 partnership with Al Ajial Investment Fund Holding to acquire a 31% stake in Inwi, the third mobile telecom operator in Morocco.
By 2010, Zain had taken the strategic decision to focus on its highly cash generative Middle East and North Africa operations, investing in new growth opportunities in these markets. This decision led to the sale of 100% of Zain Africa BV (‘Zain Africa’) to Bharti Airtel Limited in June 2010 for the total consideration of USD 10.7 billion on an enterprise value basis.
This represented a bitter-sweet moment in our history as we were both proud of what we had been able to achieve in Africa, while at the same time humbled by the success and value Bharti Airtel identified in the operations on the continent.
The 15 countries that Bharti Airtel acquired from Zain in Africa were: Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Having exited Africa, Zain Group re-defined itself as a leading mobile and data services operator in the Middle East and North Africa, with a commercial footprint in 8 countries in the region. Today over 7,000 employees provide a comprehensive range of market-leading mobile voice and data services to a base of over 44.3 million active customers as of 31 December, 2014.
We operate as Zain in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan; and in Lebanon as touch (under a management contract).
Listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, there are no restrictions on Zain shares as the company’s capital is 100% free float and publicly traded. The largest shareholder is the Kuwait Investment Authority with a 24.2% stake as of December 31, 2014.