MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter says that the group’s South African operation has ‘turned a corner’ with a strong set of results.
On Thursday (7 March), MTN reported a 10.7% jump in service revenue for the year ended December 2018, with revenue up 6% to R134.56 billion.
Operating profit climbed to R23.6 billion, from R20.6 billion before.
Reported headline earnings per share (HEPS) increased to 337 cents from 182 cents in 2017. Although significantly stronger, HEPS were negatively impacted by a YoY swing of 76 cents in the contribution from associates and joint ventures, MTN said.
The board declared a gross final dividend of 325 cents per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to 500 cents per share.
For MTN South Africa, service revenue increased by 4.2%, data revenue increased by 12.7%, and digital and fintech revenue increased by 4.7%.
- Overall SA revenue climbed 5.1% to R44.66 billion (33.2% of total revenue)
- Data revenue climbed 12.7% to R12.9 billion
- Fintech revenue was up 66.3% to R918 million
The mobile operator’s local subscriber base increased by 5.7% from December 2017 to 31.2 million as it continued to record network improvements and brought market share losses to an end, it said.
The company’s latest results showed that it has a total of 25.4 million prepaid subscribers and 2.9 million postpaid users, excluding telemetry subscribers.
Shuter said at the company’s headquarters in Joburg that the South African operation has turned a corner.
“We have the biggest, and the best best network in South Africa by a significant margin.”
“We are drawing the line in market share losses for MTN South Africa,” Shuter said at the company’s financial results presentation. “We have given up what we have given up, and going forward we are not going to be losing any more market share.”
MTN’s current share of the South African cellular market is 28.40%, he said.
Shares in the MTN climbed as much as 15% by the afternoon session on the JSE – the most since June 2016.