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Zain readies for Kenya, Africa exit

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 23 – Kuwait\’s Zain telecom will focus its operations on the Middle East after it concludes the sale of its African assets to India\’s Bharti Airtel, new CEO Nabil bin Salamah said on Tuesday.

"The group is heading towards a new course in its operations by focusing on the Gulf and the Middle East operations which generate most of its revenues and profits," Salamah said in a statement.

"Zain has great growth opportunities in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Sudan," where it has 25 million subscribers out of its 31 million clients in the Middle East, said Salamah, who was appointed earlier this month.

Zain, Kuwait\’s largest listed firm, also has operations in Bahrain, Jordan and Morocco as well as a management deal in Lebanon.

Salamah replaced Saad al-Barrak, who was the driving force behind Zain\’s massive expansion in Africa and the Middle East, after he quit.

Zain and Bharti, the biggest mobile operator in India, are in exclusive negotiations until March 25 to conclude the sale of Zain\’s operations in 15 African nations after a 10.7-billion dollar offer was accepted.

The Kuwaiti firm said it expects to make a profit of up to five billion dollars from the sale.

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