MTN delivers strong earnings and customer growth

 ·7 Mar 2019

MTN Group on Thursday reported a 10.7% jump in service revenue for the year ended December 2018, with revenue up 6% to R134.56 billion.

Service revenue in MTN Nigeria grew 172%, MTN Ghana was up 23%, and MTN South Africa was up 4.2%.

In 2018, voice grew 7.3% to R82.2 billion, data was up 22% to R28.5 billion, fintech grew 46.8% to R7.8 billion, but digital declined 32.9% to R3.9 billion.

Enterprise and wholesale grew by 8.4% and 63.7% respectively to R13.4 billion and R2.8 billion, MTN said.

Operating profit climbed to R23.6 billion, from R20.6 billion before.

Reported headline earnings per share (HEPS) increased to 337 cents from 182 cents in 2017. Although significantly stronger, HEPS were negatively impacted by a YoY swing of 76 cents in the contribution from associates and joint ventures, MTN said.

The board has declared a gross final dividend of 325 cents per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to 500 cents per share.

For MTN South Africa, service revenue increased by 4.2%, data revenue increased by 12.7%, and digital and fintech revenue increased by 4.7%.

MTN said its local subscriber base increased by 5.7% from December 2017 to 31.2 million as it continued to record network improvements and brought market share losses to an end.

“In the year we made good progress in resolving key regulatory challenges in markets including Benin, Cameroon and Nigeria. Managing regulatory issues and improving relationships and risk management remains key focus areas for the group, and we will continue to strengthen these areas in 2019,” said group president and CEO, Rob Shuter.

“Over the next few years, we see significant opportunity to grow subscribers and voice revenue as we also execute on the large mobile data opportunity.”

“We are confident that MTN is well placed to continue to deliver on our medium-term guidance and the board remains committed to targeting growth of 10% to 20% in the dividend going forward,” the CEO said.

At 31 December 2018, the group had 233 million subscribers, up by 16 million from the end of 2017.

Read: South Africa’s best mobile network: Vodacom vs MTN vs Cell C vs Telkom

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