MTN’S subscribers in Ghana grew from 17.1 million to 19.4 million for the nine months to end-September. Reuters
DURBAN – South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company MTN Group shook off its woes of the past few months by recording an increase in its subscriber base in MTN Ghana. The group said that its subscribers grew from 17.1million to 19.4million for the nine months to end September and data subscribers increased to 14.3million, up from 5.8million compared to last year.

“Mobile money subscribers were 9.4million, up from 7.9million,” the group said. MTN operates in many African countries, including Ghana and Nigeria. It has also operations in European and Asian countries. However, it has not always been plain sailing in the West African region for the mobile operator.

In August, Nigeria's central bank ordered MTN and four banks to bring $8.1billion (R116.32bn) back into the country that it said the telecoms company illegally sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations. The order negatively impacted the group's share price as it declined by more than 36percent on the JSE to trade just above R70 a share, falling from R109.66.

The positive sentiments have provided a respite for the group in Ghana, but they failed to lift the group's share price as it closed 0.22percent higher to R84.77 on Friday, despite the Ghanaian unit providing hope for the company by reporting a 23percent increase in revenue for the nine months to end September, boosted by its mobile money service MoMo.

MoMo allows money transfer and payments using a cellphone and during the period it increased its contribution to revenue to 16percent.

During the period, MTN Ghana’s service revenue grew 22.9percent, its data revenue rose by 30.9percent year-on-year and digital revenue rose by 28percent. Going forward, MTN Ghana is confident about the expected fourth quarter results. “MTN Ghana in the fourth quarter will continue to pursue our Bright strategy for 2018 to drive good performance and strive towards our vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to customers and to make their lives a whole lot brighter,” the group said.

The unit also said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) increased by 37.6percent during the nine-month period. However, this was 1.3percentage points lower than the margin in the first nine months of last year. “Excluding the impact of the reintroduction of management fees in May 2018, the Ebitda margin would have been 40.4percent,” the group said.

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