MTN Group has reported a resilient performance and strategic advancements in the first half of 2023. The telecommunications giant not only delivered impressive financial results but also made significant strides in its fintech endeavors and plans to exit Afghanistan.
MTN Group President and CEO, Ralph Mupita, expressed satisfaction with the company’s performance, citing the challenging macroeconomic backdrop. “We delivered a resilient performance in H1 23 and made good strategic progress against a tough macro backdrop,” Mupita noted.
During the first half of the year, MTN deployed R17.2 billion in capital expenditures, maintaining a Capex intensity of 15.2 percent, well within the medium-term target range of 15-18 percent.
One notable achievement highlighted in the report was the improved network availability in South Africa due to MTN’s power-resilience investment. This improvement led to a stronger performance in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter. Despite severe electricity shortages across the country, MTN South Africa’s network availability exceeded 90 percent by the end of June.
The company also achieved a strong operational result in Nigeria, managing cash shortages and increased inflation. The policy changes implemented in Nigeria during the second quarter of 2023, although initially presenting short-term challenges, were viewed as constructive for the investment climate in the medium to longer term.
MTN Group has also maintained a strong focus on investment in networks, committing R17.2 billion in ex-leases Capex during the first half of the year. This aligns with the company’s strategy to ensure network resilience and the rollout of 4G and 5G technologies in key markets like South Africa and Nigeria.
The company remains steadfast in executing its Ambition 2025 strategy, emphasizing medium-term growth and efficiencies. Disciplined investments in networks and platforms remain a priority, with a target to sustain a Capex intensity within the range of 15 to 18 percent. Despite the impact of local exchange rate volatility against the US dollar, MTN plans to deploy around R40.1 billion for Capex in the current fiscal year.
MTN Group’s service revenue experienced substantial growth of 15 percent to nearly R108 billion in constant-currency terms. This growth was driven by increases in revenue from data services (24 percent) and fintech services (22 percent), while revenue from voice services saw a 6 percent increase during the period.
Data traffic and fintech transaction volumes saw impressive increases of 18.5 percent (35.0 percent excluding joint ventures) and 37.3 percent, respectively. These figures underscore the company’s medium-term growth prospects, enabled by its commitment to ongoing network and platform enhancements.
At the end of June 2023, MTN Group had a subscriber base of 292 million, representing a 4 percent increase compared to the same period in the previous year. The company attributed this growth to lower data rates and improved access to broadband services, fostering shared value with its customers.
The company’s commitment to the digital economy was evident in its efforts to increase the number of active data users by over 7 percent to nearly 140 million, reporting a 19 percent surge in overall data traffic. Furthermore, MTN Group reduced the average effective rate per megabyte by more than 22 percent, enhancing data affordability for its customers.
Strong revenue growth and improved operational efficiencies contributed to a 25 percent increase in adjusted headline earnings per share (HEPS), reaching 749 cents. Adjusted return on equity (ROE) expanded by one percentage point to 24.4 percent, aligning with the company’s medium-term guidance.
The MTN Group Fintech business experienced significant growth, with transaction volume rising by 37 percent to 8.3 billion in the first half of the year. This growth was driven by 61 million active MoMo customers. MTN’s collaboration with Mastercard further fueled the expansion of its fintech offerings, focusing on payments and remittance services. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding for a minority investment by Mastercard into MTN Group Fintech, based on a total enterprise valuation of approximately US$5.2 billion.
Additionally, MTN Group progressed in its efforts to simplify its portfolio, moving forward with plans to exit Afghanistan through the sale of its shareholding to Investcom AF, an affiliate company of M1. Conditional regulatory approval has been received, subject to the submission of relevant documentation to the Afghanistan Regulatory Authority.
Looking ahead, MTN Group remains committed to its Ambition 2025 strategy, which is deemed relevant even amid macroeconomic volatility. The company aims to continue creating shared value across its markets and pursue opportunities for growth.
With these impressive accomplishments in the first half of 2023, MTN Group demonstrates its resilience, adaptability, and commitment to advancing its strategic objectives despite the challenges posed by the operating environment.