MTN Records Double-digit Growth in Service Revenue

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A worker walks past an outlet of South Africa's MTN Group in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo
  • Data revenue increased by 31.7%  as Mobile subscribers hit 61.5 million 

Emma Okonji

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria), yesterday announced its financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2019, recording double-digit growth in service revenue, underpinned by growth in voice and data revenue.

The telecoms company however had its digital revenue decreased by 64.5 per cent, but grew its mobile subscriber number by 3.3 million to reach 61.5 million. 

In January 2019, MTN Nigeria adopted lFRS 16 accounting standards in line with global best practice and adjustments are reflected in the results, according to the statement released by MTN Nigeria. 

Commenting on the financial report, its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ferdinand Moolman, said: ”In the first half of 2019, we sustained a solid performance, delivering double-digit growth in service revenue, underpinned by growth in voice and data revenue. We added 3.3 million customers to our network, increasing our subscriber base to 61.5 million. Pleasingly we saw data subscribers increase in the period by 2.1 million to 20.7 million. 

“We made significant network investments to improve network quality and expand our 40 coverage. Our recent work to revamp our data prices and accelerate our 40 network has put us in a strong competitive position to offer more value to our customers, supporting data and voice revenue growth which will ultimately strengthen our business.  “We are pleased with obtaining a super-agent licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enable us to build an agent network and accelerate the growth of our Fintech business.”

In May, MTN Nigeria was successfully listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), making it the first mobile network operator to list on the NSE. According to Moolman, “The listing demonstrates our commitment to the Nigerian market and provides local investors with an opportunity to participate in and benefit from the company’s growth prospects. 

“We made changes to our Board following the retirement of six pioneer Non-Executive Directors on the expiration of their tenure and in compliance with applicable corporate governance codes. We express our heartfelt appreciation to our out-going Directors for their contributions to the success of the company. We also welcome the incoming ones whose combination of extensive experience across the worlds of technology, finance, regulatory and policy development and corporate governance offers a hugely synergistic set of skills that will be of great benefit to us as we move into a new phase of growth.” 

The MTN financial statement added that MTN Nigeria delivered a solid performance, with strong voice of over 11.4 per cent and data revenue of over 31.7 per cent driving double-digit service revenue growth and further improving the margin on earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). 

Data revenue growth was driven by an increased number of smartphones on the network, greater data usage and growth in the number of active data users. MTN added 2.5 million smartphones, increasing smartphone penetration by 2.1 per cent to 39.2 per cent. Active data subscribers increased by 11.0 per cent to 20.7 million and data traffic rose by 67 per cent, year in year out, the statement added. 

“The super-agent licence will allow us to leverage our established distribution channels to offer a wide range of mobile financial services. We will continue to work towards obtaining a Payment Service Banking licence that we applied for in late 2018. Our fintech business continued to gain momentum with 21.2 per cent growth in revenue year in year out. 

“We recorded an EBITDA margin of 53.8 per cent on account of the implementation of IFRS 16. On an lAS 17 bass, operating expenses increased by 9.7 per cent, below inflation. 

Our bottom line remained strong with 30.9 per cent and 34.8 per cent growth in profit before and after tax respectively, while earnings per share increased by 34.8 per cent to 486 kobo,” the statement further said. 

Moolman explained that the telecoms company’s overriding priority for the rest of the year would be to focus on our bright strategy to build a sustainable business and create value for customers.

 “We will continue to progress in the second half of the year making improvements to our network experience, subscriber growth and enhance operational efficiency. We expect lower data pricing and our acceleration of the 4G network expansion to bolster the acquisition of customers and data traffic volumes in the second half,” Moolman said.