MTN Group today reported encouraging results for the first half of 2020, well navigating through the economic crisis that COVID-19 brought about.
MTN reported a 9.4 percent increase in service revenues to R80 billion and a 10.9 percent increase in EBITDA to R42 billion as efficiency initiatives saw its profit margins continue to improve. After non-operational impacts, headline earnings per share increased by 54%, operating free cash flow increased by 117.8% and ROE improved further to 14.1%.
The first half of MTN ‘s success demonstrated our people ‘s resilience and business model as we delivered solid results against the backdrop of unprecedented socio-economic instability and challenges.
Rob Shuter, president and chief executive of MTN Group
“While we are handling the pandemic and its consequences, we have given priority to looking after our employees , customers and networks while concentrating on efficiencies,” he said, adding that work-from – home programs continue for MTN staff; Y’ello Hope Packages help ease the financial pressures of customers; and MTN ‘s support for various other initiatives aims to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on society.
MTN also confirmed that it would concentrate its emphasis on the African markets in the future: “As part of our ongoing portfolio analysis, we believe the company is better positioned to concentrate on our pan-African strategy in the future. So in the medium term we will be exiting the Middle East in an orderly manner.
Inspired by the group’s belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, MTN has added 11 million subscribers to reach a total base of 262 million in the first six months of the year. By the end of June 2020 MTN had 102 million active users of data and 38 million active users of Mobile Money.
Despite the lockout constraints impacting network expansion, MTN Group has invested R10 billion in capital spending across our markets and taken additional 54 million people into 3 G and 4 G coverage. The average rate per megabyte was raising by 34 percent in the focus on data affordability.
The group made progress on the asset realization program, concluding the R8.8 billion disposal of tower firm investments in Ghana and Uganda.
In view of the continuing uncertain impact of COVID-19 on the operating environment, MTN has not declared an interim dividend but will consider a final dividend should conditions warrant.
Although we expect the rest of the year to be affected by the pandemic ‘s continuing challenges, we anticipate that MTN will remain fairly resilient and will be able to maintain its growth in the medium term.
Rob Shuter, president and chief executive of MTN Group.