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Johannesburg - MTN Group has announced that it expects to report an improvement of at least 20 percent in both headline earnings per share and earnings per share  for the six-month period ended 30 June.

This would be a significant improvement in MTN's interim results compared with a headline loss per share of 271 cents and attributable loss per share of 301 cents reported in the prior comparable period that ended 30 June 2016. 

MTN said the negative performance in the prior year period was mainly as a result of nonrecurring costs, including the Nigeria regulatory fine of 474 cents per share.

Professional fees related to the fine of 73 cents per share and losses of 136 cents per share from MTN's 51 percent equity interest in Nigeria Tower InterCo B.V., mainly as a result of unrealised losses on US dollar-denominated loans, also contributed to negative performance in 2016.

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MTN was initially fined US $5.2 billion by the  the Nigerian Communications Commission for not deactivating more than five million unregistered SIM cards, but the fine was later reduced to $1.67 billion after negotiating the fine with the Nigerian government. 

The South African based telecommunications giant has since paid $254 million of the fine after agreeing to settle the debt over three years. 

MTN said it was in the process of finalising its interim financial results which will be announced on the Stock Exchange News Service of the JSE on 3 August.