MTN predicts swing to profit
MTN is expecting its interim headline earnings per share (HEPS) to swing to a profit, after reporting a loss in the same six-month period last year.
The group published a trading statement earlier this month predicting at least a 20% improvement on last year's interim headline loss, and today announced it is expecting its HEPS will swing back into the black.
MTN says basic HEPS will likely be between 210cps and 230cps - compared to a headline loss per share of 271c in the previous corresponding period. MTN also expects to report interim basic earnings per share (EPS) of between 280c and 300c compared to an attributable loss per share of 301c reported in the same period last year.
The negative interim performance last year was mainly as a result of non-recurring costs, including a sizable Nigeria regulatory fine of 474cps, as well as professional fees related to the fine of 73cps and losses of 136cps from MTN's 51% equity interest in Nigeria Tower InterCo.
In October 2015, MTN announced it was facing a N1.04 trillion (R71 billion at the time) fine from the Nigerian Communications Commission for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards in the country. What followed was eight months of negotiations, which ultimately ended in MTN agreeing to pay N330 billion (R25 billion at the time), in six instalments over three years, to settle the fine.
The first two instalments of the fine have been paid, but the group still owes four instalments of N50 billion each, which will be paid on 31 March 2018, 31 December 2018, 31 March 2019 and 31 May 2019.
MTN's financial results for the half year ended 30 June 2017 will be announced on 3 August 2017.