MTN Group has reported a 19.1% improvement in service revenue on the back of strong performances in data (up 34.5%) and fintech (up 35%) in the nine months to end-September 2021.
Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) leapt by 24.1%, pushing up Ebitda margin to 45% from 42.9% in the same period a year ago.
MTN South Africa service revenue rose by 7.7%, with an Ebitda margin of 41.6% (39.3%), while the group’s Nigerian business saw service revenue up by 23.5%, with an Ebitda margin of 52.6% (51.1%).
Subscribers increased by only 200 000 to 271.9 million but this number would have been higher if not for new Sim registration regulations in Nigeria,
Active data subscribers increased by 4.1 million to 119 million across the group, while active Mobile Money customers increased by 2.2 million to 51.1 million. The value of MoMo transactions jumped by 67.2% YoY to a staggering US$175.5-billion.
“MTN Group recorded a solid third quarter of 2021 trading performance, tracking positively against our medium-term targets with double-digit service revenue growth and the expansion of Ebitda margins,” said CEO Ralph Mupita in a statement to shareholders.
“This was delivered through solid commercial momentum and the ongoing execution of our Ambition 2025 strategy in challenging Covid-19 macroeconomic and trading conditions. Material progress was made in executing on our asset realisation programme, ensuring the faster deleveraging of the group holding company balance sheet. The structural separations of the fintech and fibre assets remain on track,” he said.
In South Africa, a plan to sell the group’s towers to a third-party tower operator have made progress, Mupita said.
“MTN South Africa is well-advanced with a passive tower infrastructure transaction, securing an ‘opco-friendly’ sale and leaseback deal, subject to regulatory approvals.”
The group also announced plans to proceed with a public offer of up to 575 million shares in MTN Nigeria by way of a bookbuild to institutional investors and a fixed price to retail investors.
“The offer is anticipated to open in November 2021 with a bookbuild to institutional investors, after which a fixed price is expected to be announced for retail investors, also in November 2021. The offer is expected to close in December 2021. This is the first step in our previously communicated statement of intent to sell down approximately 14% of MTN Group’s current shareholding in MTN Nigeria.”