MTN Group published its financial results for the year ended December 2018 on Thursday just as the telecom giant declared its plans to launch its mobile money services in South Africa, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Sudan in 2019.
“Key focus areas for 2019 are the launch of our own music streaming and instant messaging applications and extending MTN mobile money from 14 to 18 countries through launches in South Africa, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Sudan,” MTN Group declared.
MTN Group increased its subscriber base by 16 million to 233 million customers across 21 markets in Africa and the Middle East. The number of active data users increased by 10 million to 79 million and the active mobile money subscriber base rose to 27 million. This strong commercial momentum drove a 10,7% constant currency increase in service revenue to R125,4 billion.
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“The service revenue growth rate achieved is ahead of both prior year and our guidance and – more importantly – is above the average rate of inflation in our markets, which means we are delivering real growth in service revenue,” said Rob Shuter, MTN’s Group president and CEO.
Group Ebitda rose more than 15% and reported headline earnings per share (HEPS) increased to 337 cents from 182 cents in 2017. Adjusting for once-off items HEPS would have been 565 cents per share. The total full year dividend of 500 cents is well covered and a final dividend of 325 cents has been declared.
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator, connecting more than 230 million subscribers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN”. MTN is pursuing its BRIGHT strategy with a major focus on growth in its financial services, digital, wholesale and enterprise businesses.