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MTN expects to double profit for six months to June

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MTN Group is expecting to weather the COVID-19 storm and double its profit in its half-year to end-June, buoyed by foreign exchange gains.

In a business update to shareholders this morning, the mobile network operator says it expects to report an increase in earnings per share (EPS) of at least 345c or 140%, “representing EPS of greater than 592c for the six months ended 30 June 2020, compared with EPS of 247c for the corresponding six-month period ended 30 June 2019”.

It adds: “Headline earnings per share (HEPS) is expected to be at least 195c or 100% higher, representing HEPS of greater than 390c for the six months ended 30 June 2020, compared with HEPS of 195c for the corresponding six-month period ended 30 June 2019.”

MTN says EPS includes the benefit from gains amounting to 341c on the disposal of the ATC Uganda and ATC Ghana tower joint ventures as announced in March 2020.

Further, It says HEPS benefited from non-operational items for the six months ended 30 June 2020 totalling approximately 50c per share (June 2019: 55c negative impact on HEPS) of which more than half related to foreign exchange gains.

The latest news comes on the back of Africa’s biggest mobile carrier’s solid performance in the first quarter 2020, which saw MTN increase its group subscriber base, signing up 6.6 million new customers.

In the quarter, the company also added 2.9 million active data users across its operations on the continent.

The telco, which has been seeking to reposition itself and push into new sources of revenue, also recorded increased uptake of its fintech business, which includes Mobile Money (MoMo), insurance, airtime lending and e-commerce.

MTN recorded voice, data and fintech revenue growth of 6.3%, 26.4% and 26%, respectively, in the quarter.

MoMo added 400 000 new subscribers and MTN says it accelerated its MoMo agency network in Nigeria, under its super-agent licence, adding 70 000 agents in the first quarter, bringing the total number of registered agents to 178 000.

The telco’s digital business also returned to growth, with a 15.6% surge in the same period.

MTN will release financial results for the six-month period ended 30 June 2020 in the first week of August.

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