MTN lifts revenue, ups dividend

Mobile operator MTN said on Wednesday (6 March) that its results for the year ended December 2012 reflected solid progress after the group reported a 10.9% rise in revenue to R135.11 billion.

Headline earnings per share increased 1.9% to 1089,1 cents, while the group announced a final dividend of 503 cents, from 476 cents in 2011.

Subscribers increased 15.1% to 189.3 million, “a strong result in the face of the ongoing subscriber registration requirements and network challenges in key markets. The low levels of mobile penetration across our markets should support continued strong subscriber growth,” MTN said.

Ebitda increased 7.0% to R58.564 billion, while operating profit improved to R41.3 billion, from R39 billion in 2011.

South Africa

MTN South Africa recorded an impressive operational performance with its total subscriber up 15.4% to 25.4 million, driven primarily by 15% growth in the pre-paid segment to 20.9 million.

This was largely due to competitive offerings and in particular the MTN Mahala and MTN Zone offerings, as well as data services.

The post-paid subscriber base increased by 17.3% to 4.5 million. This growth in post-paid continues to be driven by competitive data offerings and the success of hybrid and telemetry packages.

Total revenue grew by 7.1% to R41.4 billion, from R38.6 billion in the prior year. This was primarily driven by solid growth in data (excluding SMS) and airtime revenue, supported by subscriber growth.

Data revenue increased by 37.6% to R6.4 billion and contributed 15.5% to total revenue (excluding SMS).

Data revenue was boosted by the increase in data users to 13.4 million from 10.9 million, and 5.5 million smartphones on the network.

During the year, MTN South Africa sold 6.7 million prepaid phones and 1.3 million post-paid phones. Blended ARPU declined by 9% to R122 from R134 in December 2011, and ebitda increased by 6.5% to R14.5 billion.

Network rollout

MTN said it delivered on its commitment to shareholders and customers to accelerate its network rollout, with 7,168 (3,685 2G and 3,483 3G) sites delivered during the year, a significant improvement on the 4,126 sites completed in 2011.

Capex increased by 69.9% to R30.101 billion as MTN said it focused on capital investment across the group. The pre-ordering of capex equipment for the 2013 rollout resulted in a R2.0 billion year-on-year increase in inventory and ‘work in progress’.

Prospects

Looking ahead, MTN said it is well positioned for 2013.

“We expect to deliver continued organic growth in both revenue and ebitda and anticipate reaching the milestone of 200 million subscribers by mid-year.”

“The recovery in the performance of our key Nigerian operation is expected to continue throughout 2013. This together with a lower tax rate and the benefits of the substantial network investment made in 2012 across all operations, which is to be continued in 2013, is likely to support growth in reported earnings in 2013.”

“We continue to explore value accretive M&A activities,” it said.

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MTN lifts revenue, ups dividend