MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, otherwise known as MTN Nigeria, yesterday released its quarter three results for the nine months ended on September 30, where it recorded increased Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) by 39.3 per cent to N460.1 billion and an increased subscriber number by 0.1 million to reach 61.6 million subscribers on its network, with increased active data subscribers by 1.6 million to reach 22.3 million active data users on its network.
According to the financial report, the telecoms company’s service revenue increased by 12.1 per cent to N854.9 billion, even though EBITDA grew by 39.3 per cent to N460.1 billion.
The EBITDA margin increased to 53.7 per cent, while earnings per share rose by 29 per cent to N7.29k, with increased capital expenditure (Capex) by 39.5 per cent to N154.1 billion.
MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman, while analysing the Q3 financial results, said the bottom-line remained strong with growth of 24.0 per cent and 28.9 per cent respectively in profit before and after tax.
“Our company’s performance is very encouraging, demonstrating the resilience of our business despite a challenging operating environment. We sustained double-digit growth in service revenue led by growth in voice and data revenue.
“We recorded 61.6 million subscribers, representing a 0.1 million increase QoQ. We were required to undertake a SIM re-registration process, which resulted in a disconnection of around 0.6 million active subscribers, limiting base growth.
“During the quarter, we focused on the end-to-end optimisation and repositioning of our data offerings. We made significant investments in accelerating 4G network expansion; and leveraging 800MHz spectrum activated in Q2 2019. We launched enhanced 4G+ services in Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt. We also changed our pricing strategy, placing us in an even stronger competitive position going forward.
“As a result, we have begun to see promising results with active data subscriber net additions of 1.6 million and 4G population coverage at over 35 per cent in 64 cities. Data traffic volume also increased by over 68 per cent, while data revenue rose by 34.9 per cent year on year,” Moolman said.
He assured subscribers that MTN Nigeria would continue to sustain EBITDA margin expansion and operating leverage with EBITDA growth ahead of revenue and inflation at 39.3 per cent.
Pleased with the strong growth in profit after tax and earnings per share at 29 per cent, Moolman said during the period, MTN Nigeria obtained platinum accreditation from Investor in People (IiP), a global body that assessed the people’s practices of companies across 75 countries, adding that the achievement reflected the premium that MTN placed on its subscribers.
Giving an operational review of the company’s performance during the nine months period, Moolman said: “Service revenue grew in line with our medium-term double-digit guidance to N854.9 billion (+12.1 per cent), driven by increases of 10.1 per cent and 34.9 per cent respectively in voice and data revenue. Voice remains a key contributor to service revenue at 73.5 per cent (Q3 2018: 74.8 per cent), with its growth supported by an increase in subscribers, relatively stable tariffs and our targeted segment offerings using our customer value management toolkit.”
According to him, “Data contributed 18.0 per cent (Q3 2018: 15.0 per cent) to service revenue, with strong growth attributable to the recent data price revamp, consumer education and improved 4G coverage after we obtained access to the 800MHz spectrum in Q2 2019.
“We recorded a significant increase in both active data users and the number of smart phones on our network, which resulted in higher data usage. We added 1.6 million smart phones on our network, increasing smart phone penetration to 41.7 per cent. The number of active data subscribers increased by 7.6 per cent to 22.3 million, driving data traffic growth of 68.9 per cent.”
Improving the customer journey and experience on value-added services (VAS) remains a priority, Moolman said, adding that “our fintech business continued to gain traction with 21.7 per cent YoY growth in revenue driven by increased adoption of the Xtratime service, which allows subscribers to borrow airtime.”