MTN Group Limited said yesterday that it expects its headline earnings for the year ended December 2019 to increase by 50%.
However, the projected 50% revenue growth is still below what the company recorded during the preceding year. The slowdown is said to be the direct aftermath of the regulatory fines the company had to pay to the Nigerian government last year.
Reuters also reported that the company expects its headline earnings per share for FY 2019 to be within the range of 438 to 506 cents. The full year report will be released in March this year.
Note that MTN Group Limited is the parent company of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc which was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange last year. MTN’s listing on the NSE is part of a settlement agreement with Nigerian regulators over an infraction committed by the company in 2015 when it failed to deactivate up to five million unregistered SIM cards.
Recall that the company was also fined the sum of N1.04 trillion over this infraction, although it ended up paying just N330 million.
More regulatory troubles trailed MTN Nigeria, especially in 2018 when it was accused by the Central Bank of Nigeria of illegally repatriating $8.1 billion to South Africa. The Office of Nigeria’s Attorney General also demanded that the company should pay back the sum of $2 billion, which it was accused of owing in back taxes.
MTN denied these allegations and even dragged the Attorney General’s Office to court over the tax issue. However, the company ended up agreeing to pay the sum of $53 million to resolve the issue with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The $2 billion tax demand was dismissed last month after the company reached a compromise with the Nigerian Attorney General’s Office.
In the meantime, Nigeria continues to be the major market for MTN Group Ltd, accounting for about a third of its annual profits.
MTN Nigeria’s share price opened trading on the NSE today at N115 and is currently trading at N120.