MTN Nigeria Communications Plc 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.
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 announced its unaudited results for the six months ended 30 June 2019. In January 2019, The company 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 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 license 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 license that we applied for in late 2018. Digital revenue continued to be impacted by the optimization 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.
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.
MTN Nigeria’s priority for the rest of the year is to focus on its BRIGHT strategy to build a sustainable business and create value for customers. The company is committed to continuing to progress in the second half of the year, making improvements to its network experience, achieving subscriber growth and enhancing 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.
MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman commented, “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.”
The CEO shed light on the super-agent license the company obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enable it to build an agent network and accelerate the growth of its 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,” he added.