South African telecom MTN has released its financial results for the year ended December 2021 and reported “strong financial, operational and sustainability results” through what the group is calling a “tough macro year.”

MTN boasts that these very positive results were delivered through “strong strategic execution and sustained commercial momentum across 19 markets.”

“We adapted to the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the COVID-19
pandemic and started shaping the MTN of the future through the execution of
Ambition 2025,” said MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita.

Increased Earnings

In constant-currency terms, service revenue grew by 18.3% to $11.4-billion, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 23.7% to $582.6-Million and the EBITDA margin expanded by 2.2 percentage points to 44.5%. The Board declared a final dividend of 300 cents per share.

“The performance was underpinned by pleasing growth in our larger operating
companies, operating leverage, and the benefits of our expense efficiency
programme,” said Mupita, adding that headline earnings per share adjusted for non-
operational items increased by 26.6%; return on equity expanded by 2.6 percentage
points to 19.6%; and organic operating cashflow accelerated by 35.2% to
$253.3-Million.

The largest telecom in Africa says that these positive results were delivered despite a slowdown in subscriber additions related to industry-wide regulations in Nigeria.

Subscriber Growth

At year-end, MTN Group had a total of 272.4 million subscribers, up 2.9 million from end-2020. Greater adoption of data and fintech services resulted in the addition of 11.1 million new data users and 10.4 million new Mobile Money users to reach totals of 122.0 million and 56.8 million respectively.

Increase in Capex spending

To cater for the 53.3% expansion in data traffic and 41.1% increase in fintech volumes, MTN says it continued to invest in the capacity and resilience of its networks and platforms, deploying a total Capex of $2.2-billion in the year.

According to the report, MTN says it deleveraged the balance sheet, paying $1.4-billion in dollar debt and improving the holding company leverage to 1.0x from 2.2x. This was
boosted by cash of $1.2-million repatriated from the group’s operating companies and $271.4-million in proceeds from its asset realisation programme (ARP) during the 2021 financial year.

The Selling of MTN Nigeria shares and Tower Sales

The company anticipates further net proceeds of $586-million from the public offer of MTN Nigeria shares and the sale of passive tower infrastructure, once completed.

Among other highlights of the ARP – which aims to reduce debt, simplify our portfolio, reduce risk and improve returns – were the New York Stock Exchange listing of IHS Towers, in which MTN has a 26% stake, the localisations of a number of its operating companies and the company’s exit from operations in Yemen and Syria.

Booming Fintech

The company also reports “strong growth in its fintech business”, which now has 57 million monthly active users and generates 10 billion transactions with a total transaction value of $23- billion within the 2021 calendar.

“We remain focused on providing leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress and creating shared value for our stakeholders. Our enhanced medium-term guidance reflects the growth we see across our markets, as we play our part in driving digital and financial inclusion across Africa,” concludes Mupita.


Edited by Luis Monzon
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