KUWAIT: Zain Group yesterday held its ordinary general assembly at its head office with an attendance rate of 84.69 percent at the request of a group of shareholders who own more than 10 percent of the company’s shares to discuss the Zain board of directors’ decisions regarding the company’s recent share transactions, the factors considered, the adoption of sound corporate governance principles and compliance with regulatory requirements regarding potential conflict of interest cases and the alignment with the interests of the shareholders.
Speaking to a packed audience, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi said: “The company’s board of directors and executive management have followed and taken into consideration all the laws, regulations, administrative and financial rules related to the sale of treasury shares, and inconformity with the Capital Markets Authority’s (CMA) regulations.” Kharafi added: “The board of directors has relied on the authorization granted by the ordinary general assembly meeting held on March 12, 2017 to buy or sell the company’s shares not exceeding 10 percent of the number of its shares in accordance with the minutes of the meeting.”
Kharafi reiterated: “There was no conflict of interest, and the board achieved its duty with no personal benefit. The transaction was completed only in the interests of the company and shareholders.” Regarding the benefits of the deal, Kharafi said: “The transaction increased the company’s cash liquidity which clearly was beneficial for shareholders as it helped to reduce the company’s indebtedness by $846.1 million debt and reduce interest expenses of $25 million on an annualized basis through early repayment. ”
Kharafi concluded: “The liquidity from the sale of these treasury shares will significantly enhance Zain’s strategic and financial flexibility at a time where we continue to seek opportunities in the digital space and invest in upgrading our modern networks to enhance the mobile experience for our customers, supporting our aspirations of becoming a premier integrated digital lifestyle operator.” He told reporters after the general assembly that “the meeting today was held professionally and transparently, and responded to all questions and enquiries by shareholders, and this is their inherent right”. (See Page 17)