Kuwait’s Zain posted a net profit of $1.03 billon in 2011, up from $1.02 billion in the previous year, the state news agency KUNA reported. The telecom firm made a fourth-quarter net profit of $268 million, Reuters calculated, based on the nine-month earnings report of the company. KUNA did not provide any quarterly figures. Analysts polled by Reuters on average expected the firm to post a quarterly profit of 72.5 million dinars ($261.3 million). Zain said the 2010 earnings figure did not include the profits the group made from the sale of its African assets. “In light of the difficult financial situation, the group was able to maintain growth levels in its key financial indicators, but the group’s profit was highly impacted by the continuing volatility of exchange rates in some of its main markets,” KUNA quoted group chairman Asaad Al-Banwan as saying. The company said subscriber numbers rose 8 percent to 40.2 million. Zain — which operates in seven countries including Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Iraq — said that total shareholders’ equity amounted to $7.9 billion in 2011, taking into account that the group distributed profits worth over $5 billion over the past two years. The operator’s shares closed 2.3 percent higher on Kuwait’s bourse before the results were announced.