When news broke about the appointment of Selorm Adadevoh as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana in June 2018, there were scintillas of joy inside and outside the company.
His predecessor Ebenezer Asante had been promoted to a regional position base on his exemplary success in Ghana.
Mr Adadevoh who was not new to the telecoms sector, set in motion with precision and hard work to consolidate the gains or surpass the achievements of his predecessors.
The first major task he supervised as the CEO of the largest telecoms in the country was the Initial Public Officer (IPO).
Mr Adadevoh spearheaded the activities of the company’s IPO which happened to be the biggest ever done in the country, to a successful conclusion.
Indeed, the IPO was one of the most eagerly anticipated IPO’s in the over a quarter of a century of the Ghana Stock Exchange’s (GSE’s) existence.
Commenced in the last week of May 2018, the IPO attracted the attention of the investing public, institutional investors, and individuals right through to its closure at the end of July 2018.
To meet a regulatory requirement, MTN Ghana offered 4.64 billion shares in an effort to sell GHC3.48billion in equity ownership to investors both Ghanaians and foreigners, which was 35% of the entire company.
MTN Ghana CEO, Selorm Adadevoh addressing journalists in Accra
It would be recalled that when, in November 2015, MTN successfully bid for a 4G license, the National Communications Authority (NCA) awarded it on the condition that the company list on the GSE.
To be sure, this is consistent with MTN Ghana’s philosophy of making provision for substantial local stakeholder participation, but it still marks a major sacrifice for its parent company, which is giving up more than a third of its equity stake in one of its most profitable subsidiaries and indeed one that ranks among the most profitable companies in Ghana.
The management of GSE has been yearning for a telecoms issue for years and it didn’t come better than MTN’s. The company is a key player of an industry whose growth, worldwide is unparalleled by any other sector.
Furthermore, under his dynamic leadership, the telecoms company’s mobile voice subscriptions continue to grow while its competitors are struggling.
From its headquarters in Accra to Zuarungu
Indeed, MTN Ghana is a leading telco operator in Ghana. From its headquarters in Accra to Zuarungu in the Upper East Region, it offers voice, data, mobile financial and other digital services to its over 21 million customers across the length and breadth of the country.
According to the National Communications (NCA), at the end of October 2019, the total number of mobile voice subscriptions in Ghana reached over 40.08 million.
Out of this figure, MTN’s voice subscriptions for the period were over 21.46 million. Its market share for the month under review was 53.54%.
Similarly, another strong growth area is in data services. MTN Ghana’s active data services have grown from just 155,000 in 2012 to 6.599 by the end of 2016 and 8.294 million a year later.
Additionally, from less than 100,000 subscribers after six months of launch in 2009, MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) registered subscriber numbers have reached the 14 million-milestone over this 10-year period.
The services performed by the MTN Mobile Money are pensions, insurance, savings, micro loans, shopping, payments, international remittances and banking/investment options.
The MTN Mobile Money has also enabled investment in Treasury Bills possible with itsTBILL4ALL product in partnership with one of the banks operating in the country.
As at the end of November last year, MTN Mobile Money had over 140,000 active Mobile Money agents. It also has over 5000 mobile agents/canvassers. Some of these agents and canvassers, prior to the introduction of MoMo had no meaningful employments.
This has pivotal implications for MTN’s revenues. The company made significant progress in 2018 posting strong financial performance, a testament to the disciplined execution of the company’s strategy of maintaining a strong balance sheet, improving profitability and driving operational efficiencies.
Impressive financial results
MTN Ghana recorded a profit before tax of GH¢1.6 billion for 2018. This represents a 10 percent jump over the GH¢980 million posted in 2017.
While its revenue in 2018 reached GH¢4.2 billion, up from GH¢3.4 billion in 2017, depicting a 23.5 percent growth.
The underling profit before tax increased by 16.5% to GHC1.6 billion while earnings per share was GHC0.067 and MTN Ghana is confident on building upon these achievements in 2019.
In 2018, MTN Ghana reported a strong performance. Service revenue increased by 23.5%, driven by the strong growth in voice, data and digital revenue (which includes MoMo).
Data revenue on the other hand increased by 30.2% year-on-year (yoy) while digital revenue grew by 34.6% yoy, within which MoMo revenue grew by 60.3% yoy, according to the company’s 2018 annual report.
It is important to add that data revenue was driven by a 92.0% increase in data traffic to 137,850TB. MTN MoMo supported digital revenue growth and increased its contribution to total revenue to 17.7%. Voice increased by 15.1% yoy and contributed 46.0% to total revenue.
Furthermore, the reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin declined yoy by 2.2 percentage points to 37.6%, following the introduction of the management fee agreement effective 1 May 2018. Adjusting for management fee, the EBITDA margin would have been higher by 3.1 percentage points to 40.7%.
Continuous investments in the network
The business executed well on its capex plans in the year supporting significant improvement in coverage expansion, customer experience and quality of service (QoS) and leading to subscriber growth.
In 2018 alone, the company spent $144 million on network upgrade and expansion, which rolled out 695kilometres of new fibre; install 1,100 new cell sites to increase its 3G network customer population; install 250 cell sites to extend its 4G LTE rollout; and 600 cell sites to augment its 2G network.
As part of the network expansion and quality of service improvement Scancom Plc (MTN Ghana) acquired the individually identifiable assets of Goldkey Limited including its spectrum in the 2,600MHz band which has been integrated into the books of the company.
Awards and recognitions
The company under the leadership of the affable Mr Adadevoh has received several awards and recognitions both locally and internationally.
MTN Ghana was adjudged the number one company at the 2019 edition of the annual Ghana Club 100 Awards.
Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was the special guest of honour presented the award to MTN Ghana. The event was organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).
The GIPC’s Ghana Club 100 (GC100) is an annual compilation of the top 100 companies in Ghana to give due recognition to successful enterprise building.
The GC100 is about corporate excellence hence companies making it into the list are to serve as role models for the private sector and provide a forum for corporate Ghana to interact with the government at a high level.
Personally, Mr Adadevoh was adjudged the Telecoms CEO of the Year 2019 at the Ghana Information Technology and Telecommunication Awards (GITTA).
The award was in recognition of his sterling leadership at the helm of MTN Ghana over the past year, which had translated into significant business growth on all fronts.
Similarly, in 2018, the company won 40 awards including prestigious Company of the Year 2017 by GIPC’s Ghana Club 100 Awards
MTN Ghana is the only Ghanaian company to win the UK-based Investor in People Accreditation-Gold Employer of the year. For the past five years the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has given MTN Ghana great compliments and awards for being the largest payer in the Large Tax Payer Category in the country.
Significantly, MTN Ghana is not just one of the most used company in the country with regards to its products and services; it is also arguably the most loved as well as by both the Government of Ghana and wider society in general.
The government admires it, for its contribution to the national purse, for the past five years, MTN Ghana consistently contributes about 3% of Ghana’s entire annual tax revenues.
For instance, MTN Ghana in 2018 paid a total of GH¢1.48 billion in taxes, out of which, GH¢1.3 billion went to the GRA.
Its voice and data services regulator-National Communications Authority and Ghana Investments Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) received the remaining amount of GH¢184 million.
Again, the company is unparalleled in its spending on community development through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.
The first step towards fulfilling this responsibility is building sustainable relationships with the communities. To this end, MTN Ghana commits 1% of its net profit after tax as corporate social investment (CSI) through the MTN Ghana Foundation.
The foundation has identified areas such as health, education and economic empowerment as priority areas for intervention. It aims to improved access to quality education, healthcare facilities and adequate medical interventions, as well as development of entrepreneurs and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with skills development, among others.
Since the MTN Ghana Foundation inception in 2007, the company has supported 145 projects, costing $13.5 million and positively impacting the lives of over four million people across the country.
Looking into the future
Mr Adadevoh who is the second Ghanaian to head MTN Ghana after Ebenezer Asante, is leading his team to deliver the company’s BRIGHT strategy to enable them achieve their set objectives.
The company under his watch is poised to continue to drive down operational cost while investing in capital expenditure to optimise network performance.
Before joining MTN Ghana
Prior to this, Mr Adadevoh was the Chief Executive Officer of Digicel, Haiti which is the Digicel Groups largest market.
He is a seasoned Telecoms and Financial Services business leader with over 20 years of experience spanning several years in the UK, USA, Caribbean and Africa.
In addition to extensive C-level Telecoms experience across various Telecoms operators such as Millicom and Digicel, Mr Adadevoh also has over 10 years of consulting experience.
First, as a Technology Consultant for Hewlett-Packard (HP) Consulting in the UK, where he was advisor to companies such as Hutchison 3G, Vodafone, FTSE 100 etc. and in the USA, as a Management Consultant for L.E.K. Consulting where he focused on Mergers and Acquisitions and Private Equity consulting projects for clients such as United Airlines, Jetblue, Proctor and Gamble, Pfizer, Laidlaw etc.
Member to Boards and others
Mr Adadevoh is a member of the Board of Directors of DIAL (Funded by the UN Foundation), Washington DC, USA; Women’s World Banking Ghana (WWBG); and Sahel Grains Ltd., Ghana.
He is a member of the African Leadership Network (ALN), a TEDx Fellow, an avid tennis player and a lifetime supporter of Liverpool FC.
Mr Adadevoh holds an MBA in Finance and Strategic Management from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.
By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh || African Eye Report