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Business News of Thursday, 2 February 2023


MTN posts record N2 trillion annual revenue, proposes N203.5 billion final dividend

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MTN Nigeria Communications Plc reported revenue in excess of the N2 trillion mark for 2022, a bumper year during which turnover swelled by one-fifth and bottom-line by about the same rate, its audited earnings report showed on Wednesday.

The feat firms up the place of the wireless carrier as Nigeria’s biggest public company by revenue, with turnover climbing 21.6 per cent to N2 trillion and service revenue contributing 99.7 per cent of that sum.

Income sources, including data and digital services, saw appreciable growth, details of the report showed.

The local unit of Johannesburg-based MTN Group signed up 7.2 million new subscribers in the review year translating to an expansion of 10.5 per cent and increasing its subscriber base to 75.6 million.

“We continued to manage and invest in the resilience of our business and networks, expanding coverage and capacity with a focus on expense efficiencies and disciplined capital allocation,” CEO Karl Toriola said in a separate document accompanying the financials.

“We became the first mobile network operator to launch a 5G network in Nigeria, providing coverage in key cities in the six geopolitical regions. Since its commercial launch in September 2022, we have rolled out 588 sites and brought the 5G network to 5G-enabled smartphones, starting with iPhone users.”

Finance income modestly grew to N13.8 billion from N11.9 billion, driven by interest income on bank deposits.

The telco last May launched its payments subsidiary MoMo PSB one month after it got regulators’ approval to run the unit, and the latest report indicated it had added 2 million active mobile money wallets since the launch to the end of December.

Active fintech subscribers surged by over a half to 14.9 million during the year.

Direct network operating costs, which soared 18.1 per cent to N459 billion, and finance costs, which leapt by approximately one third, were major pressure points for earnings.

Costs saw considerable jump, dealing a blow on margin, which stood at 17.8 per cent compared to the financial year 2021, when net profit margin was 18.1 per cent.

“As at 31 December 2022, the Group had trade receivables of N85.88 billion before expected credit loss of N13.65 billion,” independent auditor Ernst & Young noted in its report.

“The telecommunication industry continues to be impacted by certain macroeconomic challenges that resulted in the Company experiencing uncertainty over the collectability of some of its receivables from specific customers,” it added.

Pre-tax profit stood at N534 billion compared to the N436.7 billion reported a year ago, while net profit climbed 20.2 per cent to N358.9 billion from N298.7 billion.

MTN Nigeria said in another regulatory filing it would pay shareholders a final dividend per share of N10, summing up to a potential payout of N203.5 billion.

Should the proposal win shareholders’ approval, the total dividend payment for the year will come to N317.5 billion (N15.60 per unit). That compares to N267.1 billion (N13.12 per share) one year prior.

MTN Nigeria is the biggest market of MTN Group, Africa’s largest mobile network operator, with assets totalling N2.7 trillion as of the end of December.