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MTN posts earnings loss in difficult year

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As expected, the MTN group has posted a headline loss per share of 77 cents for the financial year ended 31 December 2016.
During the year the group’s subscribers increased by 3,3% to 240,4-million.

Its revenue increased marginally by 0,4% to R146 894-million, with data revenue up 16,7% to R39 546-million.

EBITDA decreased by 13,2% to R51 981-million, while the EBITDA margin decreased by 5,5 percentage points to 35,4%.

The group declared a final dividend of 450 cents per share.

During 2016, MTN’s voice traffic decreased by 1,7% while data traffic increased by 143%.

Group data revenue increased 19,7% year on year, contributing 27% of total group revenue.

The company experienced a challenging  year in 2016 but believes it is now experiencing a turnaround.

The Nigerian regulatory fine has been concluded, while new senior management and group CEO have been appointed.

“Much of 2016 was consumed with putting in place corrective measures to ensure the delivery of the company strategy,” according to a statement from MTN. “Towards the end of 2016, our two largest operations and some of the tier two operations began to show signs of a turnaround following an extended period of underperformance.”

MTN South Africa delivered a sub-optimal result in the first six months of 2016, with network, systems and customer service challenges. While all these issues were not fully

resolved during the second half of 2016, MTN South Africa showed improvements in network quality and capacity.

MTN states that the operation significantly increased its net promoter score (NPS) particularly in the fourth quarter where it increased its NPS by 8 percentage points to 81% when compared to the same period in 2015.

MTN South Africa’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, impairment of goodwill, net monetary gains and share of results of joint ventures and associates after tax (EBITDA) in the second half of the year increased by 31% (excluding the MTN Zakhele Futhi share-based payment expense) compared to the first six months of the year.

Meanwhile, Nigeria continued to improve its competitive position throughout the year. Revenue declined 6,3% in the first quarter of 2016 when compared to the same quarter in 2015, but revenue growth improved steadily throughout the year and fourth quarter revenue increased by 4,% year-on-year.

MTN believes this is attributable to improved network quality and attractive value propositions.

MTN Irancell and MTN Ghana reported a strong performance driven by data revenue growth.

MTN Uganda, MTN Cameroon and MTN Ivory Coast showed improved momentum towards the fourth quarter of 2016 following a competitive environment and subscriber registration challenges in the first half of the year.