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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Nigeria boosts MTN Group growth by 17%, records N913.1bn

Continental leader in mobile communications, MTN Group, has announced its 2006 annual report with Nigeria recording 17 per cent growth in the network’s over 40 million subscribers, as at the year ended December 31, 2006, with an increase of 49 per cent revenue to R52 billion (N913.1 billion), just as the Group declared a 90 cents dividend per share.

This is coming as MTN Nigeria has introduced Blackberry on its network and extended its Y’ello Love Bug promo till the end of April 2007, even as the telco recorded 12,281 subscriber base with $18 (about N2,305.98) Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).

Announcing the group’s annual report, the Group President and chief executive officer, Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko, said that MTN used segmental reporting to reflect the performance of the Group within defined operating regions, namely the South and East Africa (SEA), West and Central Africa (WECA) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

He noted that in SEA region, subscribers increased by 27 per cent to 16 million and the West and Central African (WECA) region grew by 80 per cent to 20 million, while Middle East and North Africa (MENA) recorded five million subscribers within the year under review.

He also said that group’s revenue increased by 49 per cent when compared to the prior 12-month period as at December 31, 2005, stressing that the increase was mainly driven by the acquisition of Investcom LLC, without which the year-on-year growth should have been 32 per cent.

Giving an overview of the result, Mr. Nhleko said that MTN Group’s Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 53 per cent to R22 billion (N386,2 trillion) when compared to the prior comparable 12-month period.

On the Adjusted Profit After Tax (PAT), the CEO said that it increased to R12 billion (N210.6bn) compared to R7 billion for the nine months to December 2005.

Basic headline Earnings Per Share (EPS), he said, rose to 606.5 cents for the period, that is 69 per cent above the 359.8 cents for the nine months ended 31 December 2005.

Subscriber base of the group, Mr. Nhleko said witnessed some growth in the SEA region by 27 per cent to 16 million, the WECA region by 80 per cent to 20 million and MENA recorded five million subscribers.

He pointed out that the aforementioned excluded the impact of Investcom’s 8,4 million subscribers, the year-on-year growth which was 36 per cent with Nigeria and South Africa accounting for 17 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

He expressed delight over the growth and result generally, declaring, “I am pleased with our performance in 2006. Our subscriber growth is strong and reflects well on our expansion efforts, especially the acquisition of Investcom LLC.”

He emphasised that the group’s focus for 2007, would include among others, driving regional synergies, taking advantage of opportunities within the value chain and improving operational efficiency through least-cost operator strategy.

Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria and Research In Motion (RIM) have announced the launch of BlackBerry solution in Nigeria, therefore enabling MTN Nigeria to offer customers the BlackBerry Pearl and BlackBerry 8700g.

The BlackBerry Pearl is one of the smallest smartphones in the world and the first BlackBerry handset to include a camera and multimedia capabilities.

“The BlackBerry Pearl stands out with its elegant design and powerful technical features. The BlackBerry 8700g features a full QWERTY keyboard and provides exceptional performance together with an intuitive user experience,” the chief executive, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ahmed Farroukh said.

The MTN Group operates in Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Afghanistan, Benin, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Liberia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

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