MTN sees H1 revenue increase but Iran issues send profits tumbling

MTN Group has seen its H1 net profit drop by 5% year-on-year despite growth in several of its African markets, including Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

The group’s total revenue stood at ZAR62.7 billion (US$4.65 billion), with its profit for the first half down to ZAR4.9 billion ($366 million). Profit from its 49% holding in MTN Irancell fell by 30% after the Iranian rial declined following the announcement in May that the US intended to impose sanctions on the country.

This loss of profit has significantly impacted MTN’s overall earnings, with CEO Rob Shuter noting that the sanctions – the first of which come into force this month – may prevent it from repatriating dividends from the market. Iranian troubles aside, MTN has also faced a challenging macroeconomic climate in some of its African markets, including Cameroon and South Africa.

Nonetheless, the group reported increased service revenue, with voice and data the main drivers of this, while its mobile money revenue jumped 50% year-on-year. MTN now boasts 24.1 million mobile money customers in 14 different markets.

Shuter noted: “MTN had an encouraging first half of 2018, with an acceleration in the second quarter, supported by an improved operational performance across many markets. This was led by Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Service revenue growth increased, driven by robust voice revenue growth and the continued expansion of data and digital revenue.”

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