MTN Group Grows Earnings by 12%, Service Revenue 9.7% in Six Months

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*Subscriber base hits 240m

By Emma Okonji

MTN Group, Thursday, released its first half financial report for the year 2019, where it announced that it recorded additional 7.7 million subscribers to reach a total of 240 million subscribers on its network across all its operational base including Nigeria as at June this year.

According to the report, despite the difficult trading conditions across its major markets, the telecoms company, which is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, was still able to grow its earnings in the first half of the year, ending June 2019 by 12 per cent and its service revenue by 10 per cent.

The report added that notwithstanding the environment, in constant currency terms, service revenue grew by 9.7 per cent to R67.9 billion and earnings Before Interest, Taxation, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA), expanded by 10.2 per cent to R31.2 billion. The holding company net debt to EBITDA ratio remained stable at 2.3x, which is well within the group’s guidance range of 2.0 to 2.5x, and capex intensity dropped further to 16.9 per cent, indicating greater efficiency in deploying assets.

Commenting on the financial results, MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter, said:

“We had a good first half, reporting solid financial results, good commercial momentum and encouraging strategic progress. We saw growth of 12 per cent in adjusted headline earnings per share, which is the first time that we have delivered growth in this measure in recent years. Our service revenue grew just below 10 per cent and EBITDA just above 10 per cent, both on a constant currency basis. Our holding company leverage remains stable at 2.3x, well within our guidance range of 2 to 2.5x. And, as we grew revenue and carefully managed our investment programme, we saw capex intensity drop further, to 16,9 per cent.”

Shuter was quoted in the financial report, saying: “Commercially, we had strong subscriber growth of 7.7 million in the first six months of the year to reach a total of 240 million subscribers. The number of active data users grew by 3.5 million to 82 million and our 30-day active Mobile Money users grew by 2.4 million to 30 million. Our continued focus on the customer experience has seen us record brand Net Promoter Score (NPS) leadership across more than 50 per cent of the portfolio, with 12 markets now leading. That contributed to MTN being named the most valuable South African brand in the Brand Finance South Africa 50 report and the most admired African brand by Brand Africa 100.