Eurobites: Zain hit by COVID-19 and currency devaluations in Q1

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica sells off four more data centers; A1 Digital offers container orchestration; Dixons Carphone pays "living wage."

  • Zain Group, which owns mobile operations across the Middle East and in Sudan, saw consolidated first-quarter revenue slip 6% year-on-year, to 382 million Kuwaiti dinar (US$1.3 billion), while EBITDA fell 7%, to KD158 million ($523 million). COVID-19, of course, took much of the blame, though currency devaluations in Iraq and Sudan didn't help matters. During the quarter, Zain Group invested $415 million in capex in various areas: It expanded its fiber-to-the-home infrastructure; shelled out for spectrum; upgraded its 4G network; and continued its 5G rollouts in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Zain's flagship operation, in Kuwait, remains its most profitable.

  • Telefónica is selling four more of its data centers – two in Spain and two in Chile – to investment company Asterion Industrial Partners in a deal that also sees it take a 20% stake in Nabiax, a colocation and housing services business owned by Asterion. For more details, see this story on our sister site, Telecoms.com. (See Telefónica unveils major new strategy, identifies €2B in new revenues.)

  • A1 Digital, the A1 Telekom Austria Group subsidiary, is to provide container orchestration with Kubernetes as a fully integrated service on its European cloud hosting service, Exoscale.

  • One of the UK's biggest independent mobile phone retailers, Dixons Carphone, is increasing its minimum rate of pay to all hourly paid UK workers in retail, supply chain and contact centers to £9.50 ($13.40) per hour from an average of £8.88 ($12.53) per hour – an increase of 9%. The increase will align Dixons Carphone's rates to those currently set by the Living Wage Foundation.

  • Citymapper, a London-based company behind an app that provides route guides and live public transport data, says that despite traveler numbers being decimated by the pandemic it has received £35 million ($49 million) in "expressions of interest" for a planned crowdfunding campaign, the Telegraph reports (paywall applies).

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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