By Emma Okonji
MTN Nigeria yesterday released its audited results for the financial year which ended December 31, 2020, where it raked in N1.3 trillion service revenue in the last fiscal year-14.7 per cent increase in revenue.
The telecoms company, which is the largest in Nigeria by subscriber number and market share, also recorded increased number of subscribers by 12.2 million to reach 76.5 million as at December last year.
MTN Nigeria financial report also showed increase in active data users by 7.4 million to reach 32.6 million.
Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 9.7 per cent to N685.7 billion, while EBITDA margin declined by 2.5 percentage points to 50.9 per cent. Its profit before tax grew by 2.6 per cent to N298.9 billion, while Earnings Per Share (EPS) rose by 0.9 per cent to N10.
MTN board has therefore proposed a final dividend of N5.90 kobo per share to be paid out of distributable net income. This brings the total dividend for the year to N9.40 kobo per share, representing an increase of 18.7 per cent.
According to the financial report, service revenue, which grew by 14.7 per cent, was in line with MTN’s medium-term targets, driven mainly by voice and data revenue.
Voice revenue growth was 5.9 per cent, and although this was subdued in Q2 due to COVID-19 induced restrictions, the telecoms company picked up in the second half of the year. Data revenue rose by 51.2 per cent with increased data usage and traffic.
To accommodate this and enhance service quality, the report said MTN focused on capacity upgrades and 4G population coverage, while expanding its investments in rural connectivity. Its 4G network now covers 60.1 per cent of the population, up from 43.8 per cent in 2019.
From the MTN financial report, EBITDA rose by 9.7 per cent, supported by service revenue growth. However, the EBITDA margin declined by 2.5 percentage point to 50.9 per cent, which was attributed to increased operating expenses, arising from the rollout of new sites and the impact of naira depreciation, affecting in particular the costs of its lease contracts.
Despite the increase in costs, MTN said it recorded an improvement in its bottom-line earnings, with profit before tax (PBT) and profit after tax (PAT) increasing by 2.6 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.
The report added that the active data users increased by 7.4 million to reach 32.6 million, supported by growth in gross connections and the expansion of its 4G network.
MTN’s mobile money (MoMo) business, according to the report, also continued to accelerate with a 269.2 per cent increase in the number of registered agents to over 395,000 and 4.7 million active subscribers from approximately 553,000 in 2019.
Commenting on the financial report, the outgoing Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ferdi Moolman, said MTN Nigeria made considerable progress in growing the base for its business despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, “We connected 12.2 million new subscribers to access communication services. The growth in our subscriber base provided support for voice revenue, which accounted for 67.1 per cent of service revenue and rose by 5.9 per cent, with acceleration in growth to 8.9 per cent year-on-year in the second half of last year. This was enabled by our expanded customer acquisition touch-points, rural telephony initiatives and revamped acquisition offers. The suspension of new SIM registration in mid-December did not have a significant impact on voice revenue as we saw an increased level of activity from the existing base.”