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MTN expects 50% rise in year-end earnings

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Africa’s largest mobile carrier MTN is set announce bumper earnings in March, as the company’s headline earnings per share (HEPS) will jump by as much as 50% in the year ended 31 December 2019.

MTN, which has presence in more than 20 markets across Africa and the Middle East, is currently finalising its results for the period, and they will be announced in the second week of March.

“Shareholders are advised that MTN expects to report growth in headline earnings per share, on an IFRS reported basis (2018 on IAS 17 and 2019 on IFRS 16) of between 30% and 50%; that is, HEPS of between 438c and 506c for the year ended 31 December 2019, compared with HEPS of 337c for the prior financial year,” MTN said in a note to shareholders.

“The change in earnings per share (EPS) is expected to be between 0% and 10%; that is a figure of between 485c and 534c compared with EPS of 485c for the prior financial year.”

According to MTN: “HEPS were negatively impacted by non-operational items in the financial year ended 31 December 2019 totalling approximately 128c per share, on a reported IFRS 16 basis (2018: 215c per share, on an IAS 17 basis).”

The announcement yesterday of expected earnings growth comes on the back of the Pan-African mobile operator having amassed R14 billion in 2019 through the sale of non-core assets.

The R14 billion was raised from the disposals of its stakes in investment fund Amadeus and travel platform Travelstart. The group also sold its shareholder loan in American Tower Company.

MTN said the amount is part of its asset realisation programme, which aims to simplify its portfolio, reduce debt and risk, and improve returns, targeting at least R15 billion over three years.

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