MTN shares climb on robust Nigeria, SA performance

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MTN Group shares rocketed 9% on the JSE on Thursday after the telecommunications giant reported a solid performance in its key markets of Nigeria and South Africa.

Reported headline earnings per share jumped 46.5% to $0.35, while net debt at holding company level continued to come down – from R30.1-billion as at 31 December 2021 to about $1.75 billion by 30 June 2022.

Group service revenue climbed by 14.8% (in constant currency), while group data revenue jumped 35.9%. Ebitda – a measure of operating profit – rose by 15.1%, delivering margin expansion of 0.3 percentage points.

Subscribers increased by 5.5% to 281.6 million, while active mobile money customers rose by 31.5% to 60.7 million.

No interim dividend was declared.

“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,” MTN said in a statement to investors.

Growth in data revenue was particularly strong, up 35.9%, driven by MTN Nigeria, MTN Ghana, MTN Cameroon and MTN South Africa,” said group CEO Ralph Mupita. “Fintech revenue grew by 14%, with solid performances from Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana.”

Fintech services, including mobile money, generating six billion transactions worth an astonishing US$116.3-billion.

In South Africa, MTN kept Ebitda steady – up 0.2% to $602 million, while service revenue climbed by 4.1%. Subscriber growth was strong, especially in the lucrative post-paid segment.

Nigeria, meanwhile, delivered solid results, with service revenue in constant currency up by 19.9%, driven by a surge in data revenue (52.5%), fintech revenue (27.8%) and digital revenue (30%). Nigeria Ebitda climbed by 21.2% to a little over $ 1.16 billion, with margin expansion of 0.5 percentage points.

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