MTN said Ebitda margin expanded by 5.9 percentage points to 47.9 percent in the quarter on the back of an increase in service and data revenue. Photo: Reuters
DURBAN – Africa's largest mobile operator MTN yesterday reported a solid growth in its Ghanaian subsidiary, shrugging off its woes in the continent to post a 38.6 percent hike in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) to 570.72 million cedi (R1.58 billion) for the third quarter to end March.

MTN said Ebitda margin expanded by 5.9 percentage points to 47.9 percent in the quarter on the back of an increase in service and data revenue, which went up 21.9 percent and 22.3 percent respectively.

MTN's overall revenue increased to 1.19bn cedi for the quarter, up from 979.86m cedi compared with last year.

“MTN Ghana delivered a solid performance for the quarter. Service revenue increased by 21.9 percent year-on-year (y/y) benefiting from good growth in voice revenue up 20.3 percent, data revenue up 22.3 percent and mobile financial services revenue up 51 percent,” the group said yesterday.

MTN said it also managed to increase its subscriber base during the period to 20.8 million people from 18.6 million during the corresponding period last year.

Active data subscribers shot up a whopping 113.43 percent to 14.3 million, compared to last year’s subscribers of 6.7 million, while active mobile money subscribers increased by 17.86 percent to 9.9 million, up from 8.4 million last year.

However, profit after tax slightly declined to 215.76m cedi, down from 219.34m cedi compared to last year.

MTN stabilised its business in the West African region after it had its fair share of troubles in that territory.

Last September it was ordered by Nigeria’s central bank to refund around $8.13bn (R116.62bn) that it allegedly had illegally repatriated from the country.

The news led to a 7.5 percent decline in its share price in one day, crashing to about R74 a share.

However, the stock has since recovered to trade about R103 yesterday.

Going forward MTN Ghana said it will continue to pursue its Bright strategy in the second quarter of 2019.

“As 2019 has been declared as the year of the customer, with prime focus on customer experience as a tool to create value for shareholders,” the group said.

The group’s Bright strategy defines the six areas on which it needs to focus on to build its business sustainably to support improved top-line growth, Ebitda margins and cash flow in the medium term.

MTN’s shares traded on the negative territory on the JSE on Monday, with the share price down by almost 1 percent. However, the share closed at 0.59 percent lower at R103.39 at the end of the day.