Embattled Teleco-giant, MTN Group has released its 2018 Q3 financial result for the period ended 30th September 2018. The group reported a 1.1 per cent rise in quarterly user base helped partly by strong performances in Nigeria, its largest but increasingly problematic market.
- The Group said its user base increased by 2.5 million subscribers to 225.4 million users.
- The Group Mobile money customers grew by 1.7 million to 25.8 million users.
- The Group active data subscribers increased Quarter on Quarter by 5.0 million to 74.2 million.
- Group service revenue increased year-on-year (YoY) by 10.0%.
- Group data revenue increased Year on Year by 23.9%.
Performance of MTN Nigeria
MTN Nigeria had an excellent quarter, increasing service revenue by 17.4% Year-on-Year, towards the upper end of its medium-term target for Nigeria of double-digit growth. This growth was led by a 52.5% increase in data revenue and a 21.5% increase in outgoing voice revenue.
Also, Data revenue growth was supported by an increase in active data subscribers as well as more smartphones on its network, the result of various Consumer Value Management and Original Equipment Manufacturer partnership initiatives. However, its Digital revenue declined by 28.5% following the continued optimisation of its value-added services (VAS) business.
The Group announced the completion of the final element of this optimisation, suspending auto-renewal of subscriptions, in mid-September which means that digital revenue will continue to be impacted by lower VAS revenue in the fourth quarter, after which it expects it to stabilise.
MTN Nigeria reported 17.2 million active data subscribers, up 15.1% Quarter on Quarter, and 2.5 million Mobile Money customers, up 12.4% Quarter on Quarter.
The EBITDA margin expanded to 43.2% in the first nine months of the year, up 4.7 percentage points from end September 2017, driven by the strong growth in revenue, mix of revenue and further cost optimisation efforts.
Problematic Nigerian market
MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter acknowledges that MTN Nigeria’s plans to list have been challenged by the recent Central Bank of Nigeria and Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria matters, he however assured that MTN remains committed to the listing in Nigeria, noting that the group had engaged extensively with authorities in Nigeria to deal with the matters they raised.
Central Bank of Nigeria had on August 29 ordered MTN to bring $8.1 billion back into Nigeria allegedly sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations. It also faces a $2 billion back tax demand from the Attorney General.