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Tag: Financial Results
MTN Group reported a resilient performance in the first half of 2022, balancing an accelerated investment into its networks, reducing the cost to communicate and the delivery of solid financial results.
We advanced the delivery of our strategy under challenging conditions, which included macroeconomic and geopolitical volatility, global supply chain disruptions, constrained on-grid power supply in South Africa and greater regulatory requirements across many markets.
“Notwithstanding the tough macro conditions, MTN remained focused on investing in our markets to increase broadband coverage and to reduce the cost to communicate,” said President and CEO Ralph Mupita. “We accelerated network investment to R17.1 billion and spent an additional R7 billion on securing 4G and 5G spectrum in the key markets of South Africa and Nigeria.”
The investment in networks increased access to broadband services to 85.5% of the population and led to an average 22.5% reduction in data tariffs. Our contribution to society and economies also included cash taxes of R7.3 billion paid to nation states in the period.
In driving investment that grows gross capital formation, the contribution we made to jobs and the fiscal resources of nation states was underlined by good financial results in the first six months of 2022.
In constant-currency terms, service revenue grew by 14.8% to R92.5 billion; earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 15.1% to R43.9 billion before once-off items; and the EBITDA margin expanded by 0.3 percentage points to 45.3%. This was supported by the focused execution of our expense efficiency programme.
“Growth in data revenue was particularly strong, up 35.9%, driven by MTN Nigeria, MTN Ghana, MTN Cameroon and MTN South Africa,” said Mupita, adding that fintech revenue grew by 14.0%, with solid performances from Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana.
“The introduction of fintech taxes in some markets slowed revenue growth in Q2, but we remain encouraged by the ecosystem growth as users, agents and merchants continued to grow healthily during the period under review, with transaction volumes growing by 31.5% during the period.”
As part of our Ambition 2025, we are building five scale platform businesses on top of a very strong connectivity network. The fintech platform is the most mature of these, and in the first half it had 60.7 million Mobile Money users (up 24% year-on-year), generating six billion transactions worth US$116.3 billion. The total number of MTN subscribers in the period was 281.6 million, up 5.6%.
We made progress in our work to separate our fintech and fibre businesses from our GSM business and have started the process of engagement with select potential strategic investors into the Group Fintech structure, the outcome of which should be concluded by the end of the year.
Chief Financial Officer Tsholo Molefe said the Group accelerated the deleveraging of the balance sheet in the six months to end-June 2022, boosted by the repatriation of R9.4 billion in cash from operating companies, including R4.5 billion from Nigeria: “We continue to explore opportunities for further liability management and remain focused on reducing the hard currency liabilities on our balance sheet.”
Underlying operating free cashflow growth was strong at 24.0%, and return on equity increased to 24.2%, reflecting the consistent delivery of earnings.
We accelerated our portfolio transformation, delivering R9.2 billion in asset realisations in the first half and bringing the total realised since March 2020 to R15.8 billion, with proceeds supporting the group leverage and liquidity positions, which strengthened during the period. In line with our pan-Africa focus, we accepted a binding offer for 100% of MTN Afghanistan.
Localisations remained important in the period, as we prioritised creating shared value, broadening local participation and deepening capital markets. In Ghana we increased local ownership to 23.7% through share sales to pension funds and strategic investors.
Mupita said the headwinds facing customers and the business looked likely to persist in the second half.
“The business is well positioned to navigate the prevailing market conditions. In South Africa, we are focused on improving the resilience and availability of the network, given the constrained on-grid power situation. Battery and generators solutions will be deployed to restore network availability to the world-class standards our customers have been used to. This resilience plan will be executed within the capital expenditure envelope of the business.
“If we experience the same level of loadshedding in H2 as we did in H1 in South Africa, service revenue will come in slightly under guidance, with margins at the lower end of the range communicated to investors. The structurally higher growth opportunities in our markets continue to support the investment case of a compelling Africa growth story that delivers digital and financial inclusion to Africans,” he concluded.
MTN Group reported strong financial, operational and sustainability results in 2021 in a tough macro environment. These were delivered through strong strategic execution and sustained commercial momentum across 19 markets, in the year in which Africa’s leading mobile operator started implementing its refreshed Ambition 2025 strategy.
“We adapted to the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and started shaping the MTN of the future through the execution of Ambition 2025,” said MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita.
In constant-currency terms, service revenue grew by 18.3% to R171.8 billion; earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 23.7% to R80.8 billion; and the EBITDA margin expanded by 2.2 percentage points to 44.5%. The Board declared a final dividend of 300 cents per share.
“The performance was underpinned by pleasing growth in our larger operating companies, operating leverage and the benefits of our expense efficiency programme,” said Mupita, adding that headline earnings per share adjusted for non-operational items increased by 26.6%; return on equity expanded by 2.6 percentage points to 19.6%; and organic operating cashflow accelerated by 35.2% to R38.3 billion.
The results were delivered despite a slowdown in subscriber additions related to industry-wide regulations in Nigeria. At year-end, MTN Group had a total of 272.4 million subscribers, up 2.9 million from end-2020. Greater adoption of data and fintech services resulted in the addition of 11.1 million new data users and 10.4 million new Mobile Money users to reach totals of 122.0 million and 56.8 million respectively. To cater for the 53.3% expansion in data traffic and 41.1% increase in fintech volumes, we continued to invest in the capacity and resilience of our networks and platforms, deploying total capex of R32.7 billion in the year.
We increased our financial flexibility to capture the opportunities identified by Ambition 2025. We deleveraged the balance sheet, paying US$1.4 billion in dollar debt and improving the holding company leverage to 1.0x from 2.2x. This was boosted by cash of R18.4 billion repatriated from our operating companies and R4.1 billion in proceeds from our asset realisation programme (ARP) during the 2021 financial year. We anticipate further net proceeds of R8.8 billion from the public offer of MTN Nigeria shares and the sale of passive tower infrastructure, once completed.
Among other highlights of the ARP – which aims to reduce debt, simplify our portfolio, reduce risk and improve returns – were the New York Stock Exchange listing of IHS Towers, in which we have a 26% stake; the localisations of a number of our operating companies; and our exit from operations in Yemen and Syria.
We progressed work to build the largest and most valuable platforms, reporting strong growth in our fintech business. It now has 57 million monthly active users and generates 10 billion transactions with total transaction value of US$239 billion within the 2021 calendar.
With a step change in our approach to sustainability, we created more shared value. We connected 23 million more people to broadband and achieved rural broadband coverage of 83% against our target of 95% by 2025. We reduced the cost to communicate by a 15.3% average reduction in the costs of a GB of data across our markets. Our economic value added to nation states where we operate increased to R115 billion, with cash taxes paid up at R11 billion across our markets. We linked long-term incentives for executives to various ESG indicators, with a focus on reaching net zero emissions by 2040; progressing diversity and inclusion; and extending rural broadband.
With growth structurally sustaining at higher levels, we enhanced our medium-term guidance, raising our targets for Group service revenue growth and returns. The Board also adopted a revised dividend policy to provide guidance on an annual basis in March indicating the minimum ordinary dividend expected in the financial year ahead, aligned to the group capital allocation framework.
“We remain focused on providing leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress and creating shared value for our stakeholders. Our enhanced medium-term guidance reflects the growth we see across our markets, as we play our part in driving digital and financial inclusion across Africa,” concluded Mupita.
MTN Group is today pleased to announce a solid set of third quarter operating results, plans for a public offer of shares in MTN Nigeria, progress in finalising a passive infrastructure deal for MTN South Africa as well as in our work to create shared value across our 20 markets, with ESG at the core.
For the quarter to end-September 2021, the Group also reduced debt and holding company leverage, recorded strong financial results in line with medium-term guidance and advanced the delivery of our Ambition 2025 strategy.
“It’s been a busy quarter, and I’m particularly pleased with the sustained operational momentum across our businesses,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita.
“Material progress was made in accelerating the deleveraging of the holding company balance sheet, and our asset realisation programme and portfolio optimisation priorities are progressing well. The process of structurally separating our fintech and fibre assets remains on track.”
He added that the debt reduction led to S&P upgrading MTN’s standalone credit rating to investment grade – a level last achieved five years’ ago.
At period-end, the group subscriber base was 272m.
Driven by continued strong growth momentum in major markets Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, MTN Group’s service revenue ramped up 19.1% to R125 billion in the first nine months of the year. Data and fintech service revenue increased by 34.5% and 35.0% respectively. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 24.1%, with margins expanding 2.1 percentage points to 45.0% on a constancy-currency basis.
We advanced financial inclusion, reaching 51 million Mobile Money customers in 16 markets, processing almost 20 000 transactions a minute, with the value of transactions up 67.2% year-on-year to US$175.5bn.
As part of our asset realisation programme, the listing of IHS was an important milestone, creating a liquidity platform for the future to deleverage further. Our further localisation in Uganda with the intention to sell 20% of the Group’s holding in MTN Uganda is in progress.
We are also announcing a public offer of just under 3% of shares in MTN Nigeria as part of the statement of intent communicated previously to further localise 14% of the Group’s holding in MTN Nigeria over the medium term. MTN South Africa is making good progress with a sale and leaseback of its towers.
Aligned to our commitment to achieve net zero by 2040, we started working with the Science-Based Targets initiative to reduce our emissions in line with climate science. In joining Business Ambition for 1.5°C, MTN became part of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign. In recognition of the strides made in governance practices, our MSCI ESG rating was upgraded to ‘A’ from a rating of ‘BBB’.
Looking ahead, Mupita was encouraged that the number of new COVID-19 cases across Africa had started to slow, but said the pandemic continued to impact lives and livelihoods and demand for mobile services: “It highlights the vital importance of telecommunications as people rely on these services for information and to work, learn and entertain from home. We as MTN are well positioned to deliver and will invest in line with our capital allocation framework to capture these opportunities.”
MTN Group today reported a strong performance for the first half of 2021: exceeding most medium-term targets; reducing debt; advancing digital and financial inclusion; and cutting the cost to communicate across Africa. The Group also called for vaccine equity amid a deepening divide between countries that have access to vaccines for their people and those that do not.
“Notwithstanding the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, MTN delivered a solid H1, exceeding most of the Group’s medium-term targets through sustained commercial momentum as we executed on our Ambition 2025 strategy,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita.
We continued to prioritise the health of our people, as well as sustain initiatives to support Africa’s recovery from the pandemic’s devastating impacts on lives and livelihoods. By 12 July 2021, we had 2 452 COVID-19 infections across our operations and mourned the loss of 18 MTN employees. By that date, just over 8% of our staff had been vaccinated with at least one dose.
“We add our voice to the calls by the World Health Organisation and the Africa CDC for COVID-19 vaccine equity for developing markets. The push for herd immunity across the world and a return to broad-based socio-economic global growth will not be possible while developing markets battle to access vaccines,” said Mupita. “Public private partnerships focused on a sustainable future for our planet will be critical to successfully navigate this pandemic.”
With the launch of the #OneMorePush campaign in July, MTN Group extended our partnership with the Africa CDC. This campaign encourages people to not give up in the fight against COVID-19 and to continue to wear their masks, wash their hands and practise social distancing, at a time when vaccination levels in our markets still lag those in developed countries.
At the end of June 2021, across our 21 markets MTN Group had more than 277 million voice subscribers; 117 million active data customers; almost 49 million active Mobile Money users; and eight million users of our instant messaging platform ayoba.
In constant currency terms, service revenue increased by 20% in H1 to almost R82 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) before once-off items increased by 24% to nearly R39 billion. The Group’s EBITDA margin expanded by 1.6 percentage points to 44.9%.
Reported headline earnings per share (HEPS) declined by 10%, impacted by non-operational and once-off items, which included accounting adjustments related to our Middle East portfolio as well as material COVID-19 donations. Excluding these, adjusted HEPS increased by 31.5%. This supported the further expansion of adjusted return on equity, which was up by more than four percentage points to 18.3%. In line with previous guidance, no interim dividend was declared.
We made good progress in reducing our holding company debt, which declined to R36.7 billion from R43.3 billion, and the holdco leverage reduced to 1.4x in the half. This was boosted by cash inflows received from our operating companies of R9.3 billion, which included R4.0 billion from Nigeria, as well as R1.8 billion in proceeds from the sale of our stake in Belgacom International Carrier Services.
We advanced our work to create shared value, driven by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. We added approximately R50 billion of economic value to sustain societies in our markets; increased the number of people covered by broadband by more than 25 million; and reduced the average effective data rate per megabyte across our markets by more than 17%. We also paid cash taxes of R7.2 billion in support of the nation states in which we operate, up 47% year-on-year.
We made progress in efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2040, including working closely with our suppliers to reduce our scope 3 emissions. To accelerate diversity and inclusion, we set a target of 50% women representation of executives and boards across our operating companies.
Our April 2021 bid for a new telecom licence in Ethiopia was unsuccessful. Our bid took into account the licence conditions as well as related uncertainties. We had also adopted a partnership approach to ensure that funding and risk was diversified. While disappointing, we are comfortable that our approach was guided by disciplined strategic and capital allocation frameworks. The Group has decided not to participate in the new liberalisation processes underway in Ethiopia, and we thank the Ethiopian government for the opportunity to have been part of the previous process. We also thank the partners we had in our unsuccessful licence bid.
We announced our decision to abandon the MTN operation in Syria given regulatory actions and demands that make operating in that country untenable. We reserve our rights to seek redress through international legal processes given the actions of the Syrian authorities that have left us with no other choice than to exit. MTN Syria represented less than 1% of MTN Group EBITDA at the end of 2020. In line with our focus on Africa, we continue to explore options to exit Yemen and Afghanistan in an orderly manner.
MTN Group today announced a strong and resilient operational and financial performance in the first quarter of 2021, with growth in service revenue exceeding medium-term guidance, driven by gains in data and fintech revenue.
“The MTN Group has delivered a solid Q1 2021 trading performance, with service revenue and EBITDA margins expanding on the back of continued commercial momentum and resilient networks,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita, adding that the Group’s Ambition 2025 strategy had gained execution traction during challenging COVID-19 macroeconomic conditions in the quarter.
In constant currency terms, service revenue grew by 17.8% to R42.3 billion at end-March 2021, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 21.3% and the EBITDA margin widened to 44.2% from 42.7%.
“The overall Group results were supported by double-digit service revenue growth from our large operations and continued focus on our expense efficiency programme. We are encouraged in particular by the strong performance of MTN South Africa, as well as accelerating data and fintech services across the group in the period,” he said.
MTN South Africa (MTN SA) recorded strong performances across the consumer, enterprise and wholesale businesses. Underpinned by market share gains and a subscriber base of 32.1 million, an 11.8% increase in service revenue and good cost containment drove a 3.2 percentage point expansion in MTN SA’s EBITDA margin to 39.8%. MTN Nigeria and MTN Ghana – both of which reported Q1 results in the past week – continued to build on their solid operational execution and commercial momentum.
Group data revenue grew by almost a third amid sustained demand for work-from-home services, digital entertainment as well as online education offerings. Fintech revenue also accelerated, expanding by more than 31% as the value of fintech transactions increased by 87% to US$53 billion.
“We are pleased with the momentum in driving our platform strategy and the fintech separation project is progressing well, in line with our Ambition 2025 strategy,” said Mupita. “MTN Rwanda recently received a licence to operate a separate fintech entity, bringing the number of structurally separated entities to 12 (out of 16 fintech markets). We continue to progress our work in establishing the Topco structure for fintech, and anticipate that this will be concluded before Q1 2022.”
The Group’s strong overall performance was despite a 1.7 million decrease in subscriber numbers to 277.9 million as MTN Nigeria’s subscribers declined because of restrictions on all new SIM sales and activations in that market. The Group’s active data subscribers increased by 1.3 million to 115.6 million and the number of MoMo customers increased by 0.2 million to 46.6 million. Excluding the impacts of MTN Nigeria, MTN Group total subscribers increased by 3.4 million.
COVID-19 continued to impact lives and livelihoods across the world, including at MTN. By 31 March 2021, the Group had reported 1 557 COVID-19 infections and mourned the loss of 11 MTN employees to the virus across our markets. We continue to prioritise the health and safety of our people.
Alongside equity partners, in April we submitted a bid for one of two telecoms licences to operate in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most-populous country which represents the last and largest telco liberalisation opportunity in the world. MTN’s participation in the bid process aligns with our pan-Africa focus and capital allocation framework.
The Group remains committed to its asset realisation programme (ARP) and is confident of making progress on realising the 29% stake in tower company IHS Group in the short term. This is key to MTN’s ARP. IHS continues to explore an IPO of its shares in line with its public statement made in August 2020.
“Looking ahead, we are focused on executing our Ambition 2025 strategy, driving growth, de-leveraging the Holdco balance sheet and unlocking value, whilst navigating the impacts of the pandemic,” concluded Mupita.
MTN Group today reported a very strong set of operational and financial results for 2020, displaying business resilience under COVID-19 pressures and a challenging macroeconomic environment. Africa’s leading mobile operator also announced its re-positioned strategy – Ambition 2025 – to accelerate growth and unlock the value of its infrastructure assets and platforms.
The Group added 29 million subscribers in the year, to reach a total of 280 million across 21 markets. It reported a 52% increase in adjusted headline earnings per share, a four-percentage point increase in return on equity to 17% and a more than doubling in operating cashflow to R28,3 billion.
“We continued to perform favourably against our medium-term targets,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita. “In constant currency terms, service revenue grew 11,9% to R170 billion and EBITDA increased by 13,4%, maintaining our strong operating leverage. The Group’s EBITDA margin improved by 0,9pp to 42,7%, benefiting from the execution of our expense efficiency programme.”
The solid results were supported by pleasing growth in MTN’s larger operations as well as a broad-based improvement across all regions.
The Group continued to prioritise the health and safety of its people and mourned the loss of 10 MTN employees to COVID-19, after reporting a total of 1 404 infections in the period to the end of February 2021.
“We are pleased to have made a $25 million donation in support of the African Union’s programme to secure much-needed COVID-19 vaccines,” said Ralph. “This partnership deepens MTN’s role in the ongoing work to save lives in the markets in which we operate. Importantly, it aligns with our ambition to create shared value and ensure the continent’s future progress and prosperity.”
As well as managing the risks of COVID-19, the Group remains alive to the opportunities presented by the pandemic, particularly the accelerated need for digitalisation evidenced in the greater adoption and usage of MTN services. In 2020, MTN added 19 million data users and almost 12 million MoMo users, to reach totals of over 114 million and 46 million respectively. The Group’s networks remained well-invested, with capex of R28,6 billion in 2020 and headroom to accommodate growth of more than 110% in data traffic in the year.
In the near-term, MTN is focused on de-leveraging the holding company and it reduced net debt by R12 billion, to R43 billion. The leverage ratio for the year, however, remained flat at 2,2x as cash upstreaming from Nigeria remained challenged. MTN concluded R4,3 billion of realisations of its asset realisation programme (ARP) and remains focused on completing some of its larger transactions, which did not proceed in the year due to challenging market conditions.
In this regard, MTN suspended the final dividend for 2020 due its near-term focus on faster de-leveraging of its holding company as well as three conditions which negatively impacted this objective. These related to uncertainties around cash upstreaming from Nigeria, the timing of ARP proceeds and COVID-19 impacts.
“In light of these material uncertainties, the Board has also suspended the dividend policy and anticipates communicating a revised medium-term dividend policy when we announce our 2021 results in March 2022,” said Ralph.
During this transition, the Board anticipates paying a total ordinary dividend of at least 260 cents per share for the 2021 financial year. Ralph added, “on assessment of the progress of cash upstreaming from Nigeria, ARP delivery and COVID-19 impacts, the Board will consider returning further cash to shareholders in the form of special dividends or share repurchases after the release of 2021 results.”
MTN also announced a revised strategy. “Further to our previous announcement regarding our intention to focus on our pan-Africa strategy, we completed a comprehensive strategy review in Q4 2020 and are excited to introduce ‘Ambition 2025’,” he said. “As part of this strategic repositioning, we are looking to structurally separate our infrastructure assets and platforms, such as fintech, to reveal value and attract third-party capital and partnerships into these businesses, over the medium-term.”
“Going forward, we believe that Ambition 2025 will position the business to capture the exciting opportunities across our markets and our medium-term guidance has been enhanced to reflect this accelerating growth outlook. To support this, we plan to invest approximately R29,1 billion in our network, fintech and digital services platforms in 2021.”
MTN Group on Friday announced a strong set of financial results for the third quarter, supported by the performance of its larger operations in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana, and good group-wide growth in subscriber numbers despite challenging trading conditions which have taken a toll on people everywhere.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact lives and livelihoods across our markets, the group has demonstrated strong operational execution and resilience,” said MTN Group president and chief executive officer Ralph Mupita.
To meet the increase in data and digital usage, he added that MTN had focused its investment on network capacity and resilience and modernising its IT systems, spending R16 billion in the year to the end of the third quarter.
Service revenue grew by 11,4% to more than R43 billion. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 13,9% and the group EBITDA margin widened by 1,4 percentage points to 43,3%, in line with medium-term targets.
“We recorded solid growth in voice revenue of 3,9%, which reflects an encouraging recovery supported by the easing of lockdown restrictions,” said Mupita. “Data revenue grew by 31,9%, bolstered by increased demand for work-from-home services, digital entertainment as well as online education offerings.”
The group also reported growth of 21,0% in fintech revenue and 37,5% in digital revenue, driven by the increased adoption and usage of digital offerings.
In the quarter, MTN added 12 million subscribers to reach a total of 273 million across 21 markets, as well as adding 5,3 million active data users to 107 million. In our work to enable greater financial inclusion, we reached a significant milestone by surpassing the 40 million MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) user mark, an addition of 3,5 million in the quarter to 41,8 million at end-September.
“Apart from greater adoption brought on by COVID-19, more people used MoMo because of enhancements to the functionality of the MoMo app, the large increase in registered MoMo agents, as well as the integration of MoMo into our instant messaging platform Ayoba in some of our markets,” said Mupita.
MTN South Africa performed particularly well, sustaining its turnaround, with an acceleration in its core consumer and enterprise business units. MTN Nigeria recorded a solid result with some recovery in revenue growth under difficult operating conditions, and MTN Ghana delivered another good performance.
As part of its asset realisation programme, MTN Group completed its exit from its 18,9% investment in e-commerce venture Jumia as well as the localisation of an 8% shareholding in MTN Zambia, realising net proceeds of approximately R2,3 billion and R204 million respectively.
Looking ahead, Mupita said the group remained focused on managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on its staff, customers, networks and the balance sheet and liquidity profile of the group. Through its Y’ello Hope initiative, it would continue to support those stakeholders who have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
“Despite the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, the operating environment remains challenging and uncertain. We will continue to build on our operational and financial resilience. We have now increased our full year forecast for capital expenditure to R26 billion, to ensure that our networks provide reliable connectivity and digital services to all of our 273 million-and-growing subscriber base,” he said.
MTN Group today reported encouraging results for the first half of 2020, navigating well through the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.
MTN reported service revenue growth of 9,4% to R80 billion and EBITDA growth of 10,9% to R42 billion as efficiency initiatives saw its profit margins continue to improve. Headline earnings per share after non-operational impacts grew by 54%, operating free cash flow increased by 117,8% and ROE improved further to 14,1%.
“MTN’s first half performance affirmed the resilience of our people and business model as we delivered strong results against the backdrop of unprecedented socio- and macroeconomic uncertainty and challenges,” said MTN Group president and chief executive officer Rob Shuter.
“As we navigate the pandemic and its effects, we have prioritised looking after our people, customers and networks while focusing on efficiencies,” he said, adding that work-from-home programmes continue for MTN staff; Y’ello Hope Packages are helping ease customers’ financial pressures; and MTN’s support for various other initiatives aims to limit the impact of COVID-19 on society.
MTN also announced it was focusing its strategy in future on the African markets: “As part of our ongoing portfolio review, we believe the group is best served to focus in the future on our pan-African strategy. We will therefore be exiting the Middle East in an orderly manner over the medium term. As a first step we are in advanced discussions to sell our 75% stake in MTN Syria,” said Shuter.
Inspired by the group’s belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, MTN added 11 million subscribers in the first six months of the year to reach a total base of 262 million. By end June 2020, MTN had 102 million active data users and 38 million active Mobile Money users.
Despite lockdown restrictions impacting network rollout, MTN Group invested R10 billion in capital expenditure across our markets and brought a further 54 million people into 3G and 4G coverage. The focus on affordability of data saw the average rate per megabyte reduced by 34%.
The group made progress on the asset realisation programme, concluding the disposal of the tower company investments in Ghana and Uganda for R8,8 billion.
MTN did not declare an interim dividend given the continued uncertain impact of COVID-19 on the operating environment but will consider a final dividend should conditions warrant.
“While we expect the remainder of the year to be shaped by the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, we believe that MTN will remain comparatively resilient and is poised to sustain its growth over the medium term,” said Shuter.
MTN Group today announced a positive service revenue trajectory in the first quarter financial results for the year ended 31 March 2020
Speaking on the results MTN Group president and CEO, Rob Shuter said: “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy have brought about unprecedented uncertainty, volatility and challenges which are impacting our markets at both the socio-economic and macro-economic levels. The impact of the pandemic on our quarter one performance was not significant as lockdown restrictions for our consolidated subsidiaries were only implemented from the last week of March 2020.
We continued to build commercial momentum adding 6,6 million subscribers in the quarter, with active data users increasing by 2,9 million and MoMo subscribers by 0,4 million. We continued to scale our Ayoba platform recording 2,6 million monthly active users. We accelerated our MoMo agency network in Nigeria, under our super-agent licence, adding 70 000 agents in the first quarter, bringing the total number of registered agents to 178 000.
On strategic progress, the digital business returned to growth, booking 15.6% in the quarter. In MTN SA the enterprise business recorded its second quarter of growth and in May we commenced phase 2 of the national roaming agreement with Cell C and look forward to a continued partnership.
In these difficult times we continue to focus on our key priorities: looking after our people, our customers and our networks while we focus on efficiencies. For our people, the immediate priority is their health and safety, where the work-from-home programmes across our markets empower our staff to work remotely while ensuring continuity in our operations. For our customers, we have ramped up our digital channels as a service alternative, to enable them to continue purchasing airtime and accessing our products and services seamlessly as well as launching Y’ello Hope Packages in most of our markets.
Our various initiatives support governments across our markets with communication systems and connectivity as we do our part to help minimise the economic and social impact.
The COVID-19 situation is an evolving one and will undoubtedly impact the year ahead. Given the uncertainties associated with the duration and economic impact of the pandemic, it is difficult to reliably quantify the direct and indirect financial impacts on the business at this early stage. The group will continue to focus on business continuity and efficiency, and we have implemented strict measures to preserve resources and strengthen our resilience.”
For the first quarter, MTN delivered a solid performance increasing constant currency service revenue by 11,1% and EBITDA by 15,6% with EBITDA margin improving by 2,1pp to 43,2%, in line with medium-term targets. The group recorded voice, data and fintech revenue growth of 6,3%, 26,4% and 26,0% respectively as we continued to execute on our strategic objectives and progress toward becoming a digital operator. Digital revenue has returned to growth, increasing by 15,6%.
MTN Group CFO, Ralph Mupita concluded, “We are encouraged by the service revenue growth of 11.1% which we achieved on a constant currency basis, this translated to 16.5% on a reported basis. Good cost control across the group supported the increase in group EBITDA margins, with a particular strong performance from MTN Ghana. Notwithstanding the impacts of COVID-19 in the first quarter, the balance sheet remained resilient and our cash and committed undrawn facilities was approximately R45 billion at the holding company level, providing us with sufficient liquidity during these uncertain and unprecedented times.
We have experienced a continued surge in data traffic during the month of April, but voice traffic and mobile money transactions were under pressure given various lockdown measures taken across markets. Where lockdown measures have been lifted or relaxed recently, voice recharges and mobile money transaction volumes have improved. For now, we are maintaining our 3 – 5 years medium-term guidance but will update the capital markets in August of any changes when we release our H1 2020 results.”
The current environment is marked by significant uncertainties. It is still too early to assess the economic impact of the pandemic on our customers and reliably quantify the direct or indirect financial effects on our business. The remainder of the year will be shaped by the ramifications of the pandemic, and we will continue to update all stakeholders as the effects become clearer.
We are not only focused on managing the risks brought about by COVID-19, but also on the opportunities it creates in the accelerated digitalization it has brought about. We believe we are well positioned as a company to benefit from this evolution, especially given our focus on growth in our data, digital and financial services businesses. The Group remains focused on the execution of our BRIGHT strategy to deliver sustainable growth in our operations and value to our stakeholders.
MTN reports commercial momentum, strategic progress and strong financial results; CEO to step down next year, succession process underway
MTN Group today announced an encouraging set of results for the year ended 31 December 2019 and that group president and CEO Rob Shuter would be stepping down from his role at the end of his contract in March 2021.
Commenting on the results, Shuter said:
“In 2019, the 25th anniversary of MTN Group, we delivered commercial momentum across our operations as well as great progress in our strategy and strong financial results, despite challenging trading conditions.
We added 18 million customers to reach a total of 251 million and increased our data users by 17 million to 95 million and our fintech customers by 7 million to 35 million. This growth is central to our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. We also saw improvements in customer experience, network quality and market share across the group.
On the strategic front, we launched our instant messaging platform Ayoba, which is now live in 12 markets with two million monthly active users. We launched MoMo in South Africa and Afghanistan and received our super-agent licence in Nigeria, registering more than 100 000 agents by year-end. We also delivered R14 billion of asset realisations within the first 12 months of our programme and MTN Nigeria listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange. We recorded progress on various regulatory issues, including the AGF tax matter in Nigeria. Relationships with stakeholders across our markets improved, and we reported our highest employee sustainable engagement score yet.
On the financial side, we delivered service revenue growth of 9,8% with an acceleration in the second half. Our EBITDA margin improved and reported headline earnings per share grew by 62%. Our network rollout brought a further 69 million people into 4G coverage whilst reducing capex intensity. Improved cash flows during the year supported stable balance sheet ratios.”
This outcome was delivered against challenging macroeconomic conditions, particularly in South Africa, with muted economic activity and the rand weakening against the US dollar.
In constant currency terms, group service revenue increased by 9,8%* to R141,8 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) expanded by 13,6% to R53,4 billion. The holding company leverage ratio improved to 2,2x, which is well within the group’s guidance range of 2,0 to 2,5x, and we reduced our capex intensity to 17,5% from 19,3%, indicating greater efficiency in deploying assets. Driven by the strong earnings performance, operating cashflow increased by 18% and the ROE increased from 11,5% in 2018 to 14,3% in 2019 on an IAS17 basis.
The group’s results were supported by double-digit growth in service revenue by both MTN Nigeria and MTN Ghana. The performance of MTN South Africa was impacted by economic pressure, new data usage rules and changes in recognition criteria for roaming revenue from Cell C due to delayed payments under the networking roaming agreement.
MTN announced that the group president and CEO Rob Shuter will be stepping down from his role at the end of his contract in March 2021. The board thanks Rob for the contribution he has made, and continues to make, to MTN. The succession process will be concluded during the year, enabling a seamless handover.
MTN group chief technology and IT officer Charles Molapisi has been appointed to the group executive committee and the fixed contract of the group chief operations officer, Jens Schulte-Bockum, has been extended until 31 March 2022.
Looking ahead, Shuter says:
“We are well positioned for growth. Guided by our well-defined BRIGHT strategy, we are building our growth strategy on our digital operator model while optimising efficiencies, capex and cashflow.
Following data price reductions in South Africa and Nigeria in 2019, we expect price elasticity to improve data revenue growth in 2020, supported by expanded 4G coverage in Nigeria and across the group. We will continue to scale up our fintech and digital services as well as grow our enterprise and wholesale businesses.
We have maintained our service revenue, EBITDA margin, capex intensity and ROE targets and increased our asset disposal target by a further R25 billion over the medium term. We also now target a holding company leverage ratio at below 2x. We will use 2020 to implement our succession process and ensure a seamless handover to the new group president and CEO whilst maintaining our operational execution.
Inspired to harness the pioneering spirit that has built MTN over the last 25 years, we remain committed to delivering on our strategy in a more agile way in close collaboration with our many partners, with whom we are #GoodTogether.”