File image: IOL.

JOHANNESBURG - South African telecommunications giant, MTN said on Monday that it expected an improvement of at least 20 percent in both headline earnings per share (HEPS) and earnings per share (EPS) for the 12-month period ended 31 December 2017.

This is a significant improvement compared with a headline loss per share of 77 cents and attributable loss per share of 144 cents for the prior 2016 financial year. HEPS is South Africa's main measure of a company's profit.

MTN said the negative performance in the 2016 financial year was mainly as a result of non-recurring costs, including those related to the Nigerian regulatory fine and losses on MTN's 51 percent equity interest in the Nigerian tower company.

In March 2017, MTN paid $98 million, or R1.34-billion, of a reduced $1.7-billion fine for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards in Nigeria. The  full payment would be made over three years.

MTN will release its financial results on the Stock Exchange News Service of the JSE Limited in March.

 - African News Agency (ANA)