Accra – Mobile communication giant, MTN says it has delivered a strong first half-year results amid COVID-19 challenges, announcing, it will focus on Africa and orderly exit from the Middle East over the medium-term.
A statement issued in Accra said MTN reported service revenue growth of 9.4 percent to R80 billion (US$4.6 billion) and EBITDA growth of 10.9 percent to R42 billion (US$2.4 billion) as efficiency initiatives saw its profit margins continue to improve.
It said headline earnings per share after non-operational impacts grew by 54 percent operating free cash flow increased by 117.8 percent and return on equity improved further to 14.1 percent.
Mr Rob Shuter, MTN Group President, and Chief Executive Officer said « MTN’s first-half performance affirmed the resilience of our people and business model as we delivered strong results against the backdrop of unprecedented socio- and macroeconomic uncertainty and challenges.”
“As we navigate the pandemic and its effects, we have prioritised looking after our people, customers, and networks while focusing on efficiencies,” he said.
MTN also announced it was focusing its strategy in the future on the African markets.
“As part of our ongoing portfolio review, we believe the Group is best served to focus in the future on our pan-African strategy. We will, therefore, be exiting the Middle East in an orderly manner over the medium term. As a first step we are in advanced discussions to sell our 75 percent stake in MTN Syria,” Mr Shuter said.
He said MTN added eleven million subscribers in the first six months of the year to reach a total base of 262 million and by the end of June 2020, MTN had 102 million active data users and 38 million active Mobile Money users.
He said despite lockdown restrictions impacting network rollout, MTN Group invested R10 billion (US$ 572.9million) in capital expenditure across its markets and brought a further 54 million people into 3G and 4G coverage.
Mr Shuter said the focus on the affordability of data saw the average rate per megabyte reduced by 34 percent.
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 (US$504.5million).
The Group CEO said MTN did not declare an interim dividend given the continued uncertain impact of COVID-19 on the operating environment but would 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,” Mr Shuter said.
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