MTN has reported that group service revenue grew by 6,9% (13,5% in constant currency after accounting for the impact of the pro forma adjustments) for the year ended 31 December 2023, to R210,1-billin (2022: R196,5-billion).

EBITDA (before once-off items) was down by 0,5% (9,8%) to R90,5-billion (2022: R90,8-billion), with EBITDA margin lower by 3.0 percentage points (pp) to 40.9% (1,2 pp lower to 41,5%).

Basic earnings per share (EPS) decreased by 78,5% to 227cps (2022: restated 1 054cps) with reported headline earnings per share (HEPS) down by 72,3% to 315cps (2022: restated 1 137cps), non-operational impacts decreasing HEPS by 888cps.

The group’s total subscribers increased by 2% to 294,8-million.

Group -resident and CEO Ralph Mupita comments: “The MTN Group sustained a resilient performance in 2023, with solid underlying operating momentum and pleasing progress in our key strategic initiatives during a period characterised by
geopolitical and macroeconomic headwinds.

“The sharp devaluation of the Naira during the period impacted our reported results for both MTN Nigeria and MTN Group.

“We continued to invest in our business and execute on our Ambition 2025 strategy given the sustained structural high demand for data and fintech services evident across our markets. Data traffic across our operations grew at 26,3% (35,4% excluding JVs) while fintech transaction volumes grew at 32,2% in the period.”

Mupita says the group deployed R41,1-billion of capex (ex-leases) to support the focused execution of its Ambition 2025

“The progress of MTN South Africa’s (MTN SA) network resilience plan was a key success in the year, which significantly improved network availability and supported commercial initiatives, despite ongoing loadshedding.

“By the close of 2023, MTN SA had achieved network availability of approximately 95% ahead of schedule, with availability of approximately 98% on the cohort of sites where resilience investment had been completed.

“More broadly, the business’ customer base was resilient ending 2023 at 295-million (up 2%), despite the adverse effects of SIM registration regulations in key markets, supporting robust service revenue growth of 13,5%,” he adds.

In terms of service revenue growth in the larger markets, MTN Nigeria was up by 22,1%, MTN South Africa was up by 2,5% and MTN Ghana by 35%. Adjusting for conflict-affected MTN Sudan, the group’s service revenue growth for 2023 would have been 14,1%.

During the year, active data customers increased by 9,3% to 149,7-million, with data traffic up by 26,3% (up 35,4% excluding JVs). MoMo active users increased by 5% to 72,5-million. “This was impacted by a strategic shift in focus to wallet customers in Nigeria and base clean ups in Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa,” Mupita says.

“The momentum in volume and value of MoMo transactions remained strong and were up by 32,2% and 47,4%, respectively. This underpinned strong advanced service revenue growth of 54,8%.”