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Nigeria, Ghana and SA markets boost MTN results

Nigeria, Ghana and SA markets boost MTN results

Half-yearly results issued by MTN today show an improved performance in constant currency over the six months to 30 June 2018, with stand-out performances by Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.

The mobile operator managed to grow its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) by 38,6% year‐on‐year (YoY) in Nigeria during the second quarter and by 8,6% YoY in South Africa, while Ghana's EBITDA increased by 13,6% in the same period.

Rob Shuter, CEO and President of the MTN Group said the three countries led a generally positive performance by the company over the interim period.

"MTN had an encouraging first half of 2018, with an 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% increase in subscriber numbers, continued network rollout, increasing 3G and 4G population coverage and improving customer service."

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 ongoing 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."

MTN reports a growth in group service revenue of 10,2% in constant currency terms led by growth of 17,0% by MTN Nigeria, 27,9% by MTN Ghana and 2,9% by MTN South Africa, while MTN Cameroon and MTN Ivory Coast reported declines.

Sanctions

MTN Cameroon registered a 7% decline in service revenue as the subscriber base tumbled by 5.9% to 6.6 million since December 2017. In Ivory Coast the decline in service revenue was 6.6% due weak voice revenue, according to the telco.

Shuter also points that the telco is on track to payout a dividend at the end of the financial year despite problems in securing profit in MTN Irancell, where sanctions remain in place.

The US announced its decision to re‐impose economic sanctions against Iran in May and the first round of these sanctions became effective on 7 August 2018 while a second phase is expected to be effective from 5 November 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% to 20% 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."

The interim results also show that MTN Group subscriber numbers now stand at 223,4 million compared to 217,2 million at the end of 2017. The Group has now amassed 71,2 million active data users across all its markets while MTN Mobile Money customers remain just below 25 million at 24,1 million.

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