MTN Nigeria Declares N98.93bn PAT in Q2 2019; Creates new wealth for shareholders amid N60Bn Interim Dividend

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MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (“MTN Nigeria” or “the Company”) is one of Africa’s largest providers of communications services, connecting over 61 million people in communities across the country with each other and the world.

Highlights:

  • Service revenue increased by 12.2%
  • Voice revenue increased by 11.4%
  • Data revenue increased by 31.7%
  • Fintech revenue increased by 21.2%
  • Digital revenue decreased by 64.5%
  • EBITDA grew by 40.0% to N304.9 billion (IAS 17: 16.2% to N253.0 billion)
  • EBITDA margin increased by 10.7 pp to 53.8% (IAS 17: 44.6%, up 1.5pp)
  • Capex increased by 63.8% to N105.8 billion (IAS 17: 48.9% to N96.1 billion)
  • Mobile subscribers increased by 3.3 million to 61.5 million

Guided by a vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world, MTN Nigeria’s leadership position in coverage, capacity and innovation has remained constant since its launch in 2001. MTN Nigeria is part of the MTN Group – a multinational telecommunications group which operates in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

MTN Nigeria announces its unaudited results for the six months ended 30 June 2019. In January 2019, MTN Nigeria adopted IFRS 16 accounting standards in line with global best practice and adjustments are reflected in the results. All financial comparisons are year-on-year (YoY) unless otherwise stated. All subscriber numbers are compared to end of December 2018 unless otherwise stated. This announcement is the responsibility of the MTN Nigeria board of directors.

 MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman comments:

In the first half of 2019, we sustained a solid performance, delivering double-digit growth in service revenue, underpinned by growth in voice and data revenue. We added 3.3 million customers to our network, increasing our subscriber base to 61.5 million. Pleasingly, we saw data subscribers increase in the period by 2.1 million to 20.7 million.

We made significant network investments to improve network quality and expand our 4G coverage. Our recent work to revamp our data prices and accelerate our 4G network has put us in a strong competitive position to offer more value to our customers, supporting data and voice revenue growth which will ultimately strengthen our business.

We are pleased with obtaining a super-agent licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enable us to build an agent network and accelerate the growth of our fintech business.

In May, MTN Nigeria was successfully listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), making us the first mobile network operator to list on the NSE. The listing demonstrates our commitment to the Nigerian market and provides local investors with an opportunity to participate in and benefit from the company’s growth prospects.

We made changes to our board following the retirement of six pioneer non-executive directors on the expiration of their tenure and in compliance with applicable corporate governance codes. We express our heartfelt appreciation to our outgoing directors for their contributions to the success of the company. We also welcome the incoming directors whose combination of extensive experience across the worlds of technology, finance, regulatory and policy development and corporate governance offers a hugely synergistic set of skills that will be of great benefit to us as we move into a new phase of growth.

Our Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Adekunle Awobodu has indicated his intention to resign from the position of the CFO of the company in the second half of 2019 for family-related reasons. The identification of a suitable successor has reached an advanced stage to facilitate a seamless transition. To ensure continuity on certain projects, Mr Awobodu has graciously accepted to continue to support the company on a consultancy basis. The board extends its appreciation to Mr. Awobodu for his contributions to the growth of the company.

In line with our dividend policy guidance at the listing, the board has approved a maiden interim dividend as a listed company, of N2.95 kobo per share to be paid out the distributable net income.”

Operational review

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MTN Nigeria delivered a solid performance, with strong voice (+11.4%) and data revenue (+31.7%) driving double-digit service revenue growth and further improving the margin on earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Voice revenue growth was supported by an increase in subscribers (+5.7%), relatively stable tariffs and our focus on pro-consumer activities. This was boosted by our targeted customer value management (CVM) initiatives. Data revenue growth was driven by an increased number of smartphones on the

network, greater data usage and growth in the number of active data users. We added 2.5 million smartphones, increasing smartphone penetration by 2.1pp to 39.2%. Active data subscribers increased by 11.0% to 20.7 million and data traffic rose by 67% YoY.

Our fintech business continued to gain momentum with 21.2% growth in revenue YoY. The super-agent licence will allow us to leverage our established distribution channels to offer a wide range of mobile financial services. We will continue to work towards obtaining a payment service banking licence that we applied for in late 2018. Digital revenue continued to be impacted by the optimisation of value-added services (VAS). However, our focus is to build a sustainable base of active digital users in order to boost revenue growth. Our enterprise business also delivered satisfactory results, with revenue increasing by 31.3%, to contribute 11.9% to service revenue.

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We recorded an EBITDA margin of 53.8% on account of the implementation of IFRS 16. On an IAS 17 basis, operating expenses increased by 9.7%, below inflation. The 1.5pp improvement in the EBITDA margin was supported by a stable naira against the US dollar benefiting our operating expenses as well as lower digital expenses arising from our VAS optimisation initiatives. Our bottom line remained strong with 30.9% and 34.8% growth in profit before and after-tax respectively, while earnings per share increased by 34.8% to 486 kobo.

Corporate and legal matters

The hearing on the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) matter, which was originally scheduled to be held on June 26, 2019, for the commencement of trial on the substantive issue before the court was adjourned to October 29 and 31 2019. We remain resolute that MTN Nigeria has not committed any offence and will continue to defend this position.

The redemption of MTN Nigeria’s preference shares has always been envisaged as a necessary part of the simplification of our capital structure. The redemption process is underway and will be completed after the necessary regulatory process.

 Outlook

Our overriding priority for the rest of the year is to focus on our BRIGHT strategy to build a sustainable business and create value for customers. We will continue to progress in the second half of the year, making improvements to our network experience, subscriber growth and enhance operational efficiency. We expect lower data pricing and our acceleration of the 4G network expansion to bolster the acquisition of customers and data traffic volumes in the second half.

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This announcement is only a summary of the information in the full announcement and does not contain full or complete details. Please visit https://www.mtn.com/investors/more-in-investors/nigeria/ for the unaudited results for the six months ended 30 June 2019.

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