Largest telecommunications by subscriber number in Nigeria, MTN, generated N457 billion from voice and data services in the first six months of the year, New Telegraph has learnt. According to MTN Group’s half year interim result, the Nigeria arm of the pan-African telecommunications company grew its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) by 38.6 per cent year-on-year.
MTN, as at the end of last June, had 66.4 million active subscribers and accounted for 41 per cent of active mobile subscriptions in the country, according to statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The company also dominated the data segment with 38.9 million data subscribers as at June. All these translated into huge revenues for the company and helped lifted the Group’s half year revenue by 9.7 per cent. According to the Group’s result, which was reported in South African currency, Rand, MTN Nigeria generated R17.2 billion in the half year, which translated to N457 billion when converted into naira using the current rand-naira rate of 26.56.
The Group’s total revenue for the six months stood approximately at R62.8 billion Further analysis of the results showed that voice revenue growth, along with the continued expansion of data and digital revenue, supported overall service revenue growth of the company and the Group. Acknowledging the positive contributions from Nigeria while presenting the results to shareholders, CEO and President of MTN Group, Rob Shuter, said Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa led a generally positive performance by the company over the interim period.
“MTN had an encouraging first half of 2018, with acceleration in the second quarter, supported by an improved operational performance across many markets. This was led by Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Service revenue growth increased, driven by robust voice revenue growth and the continued expansion of data and digital revenue.
“This, in turn, was supported by a 2.8 per cent increase in subscriber numbers, continued network rollout, increasing 3G and 4G population coverage and improving customer service,” he said. He added that the company resolved key regulatory issues in Cameroon and Benin, in addition to launching the initial public offering (IPO) of MTN Ghana and is making progress on the IPO of MTN Nigeria. “As part of our on-going portfolio review, we agreed to the sale of MTN Cyprus. In the period, we further strengthened our governance of risk, continued to boost our specialist skills base, recorded improvements in employee engagement and extended mobile Internet access to more people.”
The Group reported growth service revenue of 10.2 per cent in constant currency terms led by growth of 17.0 per cent by MTN Nigeria, 27.9 per cent by MTN Ghana and 2.9 per cent by MTN South Africa, while MTN Cameroon and MTN Ivory Coast reported declines.
MTN Cameroon registered a seven per cent decline in service revenue, as the subscriber base tumbled by 5.9 per cent to 6.6 million since December 2017. In Ivory Coast, the decline in service revenue was 6.6 per cent due to weak voice revenue, according to the telco. Shuter also noted that the telco is on track to pay out a dividend at the end of the financial year, despite problems in securing profit in MTN Irancell, where sanctions remain in place. The United States announced its decision to reimpose economic sanctions against Iran in May and the first round of these sanctions became effective on August 7, 2018, while a second phase is expected to be effective from November 5, 2018. “Despite continued challenges in repatriating funds from MTN Irancell, the board remains committed to plans to declare a total dividend of 500 cents per share for 2018 and is targeting growth of 10 per cent to 20 per cent over the medium term. We believe everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life and see opportunity to provide this. We are confident that MTN remains well placed to deliver on our medium term guidance,” Shuter said.
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