MTN Rwanda, the biggest telecoms operator in the East African nation, on Friday said investment in its network and platforms remained a key priority supporting its strategy to achieve 100% population coverage in 2023.
In its results for the year to December 31, 2022, the group, which is also known as MTN Rwandacell, said it planned to ensure connectivity across Rwanda’s rural communities to further drive digital inclusion, as well as to grow its subscriber base.
Service revenue grew 19.9% to 221.7 billion Rwandan Francs (R3.68 billion) last year, but profit fell 12.8%.
Mobile subscribers increased by 5.9% year on year to 6.8 million, while MoMo subscribers were up by 16.3% to 4.3 million, and the number of merchants rose by 192.6% to 141 222 at period end.
MTN Rwanda was listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange in May 2021, and this is the company’s first public full-year earnings report.
The group said it was still feeling the costs of renewing its operating licence.
“The licence fee of Rwf 91 billion will be amortised annually for 10 years. Excluding the 2022 additional charges arising from the licence renewal, underlying PAT (profit after tax) would have increased by more than 20%,” it said.
MTN Rwanda CEO Mapula Bodibe said: “In 2022, MTN Rwanda delivered solid overall business performance and continued growth across all business areas in a challenging macroeconomic environment characterised by persistent inflationary pressures and currency volatility.”
She said Rwanda’s inflation rate, as measured by the urban consumer price index, rose to 21.6% year on year for 2022, while in 2021 it had been 1.9%.
“This was the highest rise since 2009, with the largest contributors being food and alcoholic beverages, which recorded a 44% increase year on year,” Bodibe said.
Fintech revenue increased by 47.4%, while active data subscribers were up by 9% year on year to 2.3 million, helping to push up earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation by 20.8% to Rwf 108.4 billion.
Capital expenditure increased by 28% to Rwf 47.1 billion, with an increase of 120 new network sites at the end of the period, owing to continued investment in the operator’s network, which currently has network population coverage at 98.7%.
Looking ahead, the group said the global economy was forecast to remain under pressure, which was expected to continue to weigh on sub-Saharan Africa and Rwanda.
“We expect our trading environment, in the short term, to remain challenging due to elevated inflation, high interest rates and pressure on consumer spending power,” it said.
Last week, the MTN Group said it expected earnings per share to increase between 35% and 45% for its financial year to December 31, while adjusted headline earnings per share was expected to increase by 12% to 22% for the period.