MTN Nigeria has released its audited report for the first half of 2021, with a decline in mobile users and data subscribers very noticeable.
According to the report released on Friday, its mobile subscribers declined by 7.6 million to 68.9 million, vis-a-vis the quarter-on-quarter report of December 2020.
Active data users also declined by approximately 52,000 to 32.5 million when compared to the quarter-on-quarter report of December 2020.
The company attributed the decline to “the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activation”.
Its service revenue was, however, up by 24.1 per cent to N790.3 billion on a year-on-year basis to the first half of 2020. This, the company said, was driven by the sustained growth in data and also partly due to the lower base in comparative 2020 voice revenue that resulted from lockdowns during that period.
Voice revenue grew by 13.1 per cent, benefitting from an 11.8% increase in traffic and customer value management (CVM) initiatives, while data revenue rose by 48.3 per cent majorly due to increase of usage by existing subscribers and the acceleration of its 4G rollout and enhanced network capacity following the acquisition and activation of additional 800MHz spectrum in the first quarter of 2020.
The company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 27.6 per cent to N417.2 billion, while its EBITDA margin improved by 1.4 percentage points to 52.7 per cent when compared to the first half of 2020.
Capital expenditure was up by 39.1 per cent to N186.4 billion (up 50.6% to N114.5 billion excluding right of use [RoU] assets) and dividend per share of N4.55 kobo, up 30 per cent.
Commenting on the results, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, said: “In the first half of 2021, we made good progress strengthening the resilience of the business, managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and enhancing support to our people, customers and other stakeholders. We extended our commitment to the Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID) with an additional N3 billion contribution over a two-year period, half of which has already been paid. This is in support of efforts to promote the health and security of Nigerians, as we navigate our way through the pandemic; and in line with our Y’ello Hope initiatives through which we provided support to our broad base of stakeholders to the value of approximately N25 billion in 2020.
“Our progress towards achieving greater business resilience is reflected in the upgrade by Global Credit Ratings (GCR) of our national scale long-term issuer rating to AAA and affirmation of our national scale short-term rating of A1+ with a stable outlook. This puts MTN Nigeria on the highest possible GCR scale for short-term and long-term ratings, providing a solid platform for growth.”
MTN Nigeria also revealed plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary with numerous national impact projects.
“2021 marks the 20th anniversary of MTN’s presence in Nigeria. As we celebrate this milestone, we are pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has approved our participation in the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) Scheme. This is in response to Government’s drive towards public-private partnerships in the rehabilitation of critical road infrastructure in Nigeria. We intend to participate in the restoration and refurbishment of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway. Conversations in this regard have already commenced, and further announcements will be made in due course.
“In line with our desire to plant deeper and more permanent roots in Nigeria, we have also initiated plans to commission a purpose-built, state of the art MTN Head Office, designed to act as a central hub for our network, a catalyst for creativity and innovation, and a showcase for the flexible working structures that are driving efficiency gains in this new normal working environment. Aligned with our wider commitment to environmental sustainability, it will meet the highest global environmental standards, demonstrating the role of green technology in our future,” Toriola said.
Looking forward to the remainder of the year and the immediate future, the company said: “We have a clear focus on sustaining double-digit service revenue growth ahead of inflation, driving 4G and rural network expansion, as well as positioning our fintech and digital businesses for accelerated growth in order to unlock their full value.
“In addition, we will continue to sustain our expense efficiency programme to strengthen our financial position and support margins. In the remainder of the year, we anticipate that the base effects will partly influence our commercial and financial trends. Although the availability of foreign exchange remains a constraint, we strive to minimise its impact on the business.”