SA’s MTN Expects to Return to Profit after Year-Ago Loss
South Africa’s MTN expect to report a return to profit for the 12 months to end-December 2017 from a net loss the year before, the mobile phone informed investors on Monday.
Africa and the Middle East biggest mobile phone operator expects to report an improvement of at least 20% in headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the 12-month period ended 31 December 2017, versus a headline loss per share of 77 cents in 2016.
HEPS is South Africa’s main profit gauge.
The negative performance in 2016 was mainly as a result of non-recurring costs, including those related to the Nigerian regulatory fine and losses on MTN’s 51% equity interest in the Nigerian tower company.
The company, which has operations in big markets such as South Africa, Iran and Nigeria, said HEPS for the 12-month period ended 31 December 2017 are expected to be positive and a further trading statement.
Last year, MTN stepped up the telco’s plans to win more mobile data and digital services customers.
In the six months to end-June, MTN recorded a 9.1% rise in data users putting its total customers to 122, 7 million. While active customers are sitting at 72 million.
Arguing that mobile data and digital services offers a huge opportunity for growth for MTN’s CEO Rob Shuter said: “We are well placed to leverage the opportunity. I think what’s also encouraging is the progress in mobile money services.”
The operator added 2.7 million active mobile money customers in the six months to end-June, pushing its total users to 17.9 million.
In June 17, MTN processed 117 million mobile money transactions across its 14 markets offering the service, which translated into 4 000 transactions a minute and total value of transactions was $4 billion, according to Shuter.
MTN reckons that Africa and the Middle East remain among the world’s key growth regions over the medium to long term. As the prospects for telecommunications are closely aligned to this growth trajectory, the company said: “we see a number of opportunities and believe that MTN is well placed to benefit given our unique position in the markets in which we operate”.