MTN Group East Africa Opcos nudge green in interim results
MTN Group's East African operating companies consolidated gains in the last six months, nudging green on key indicators.
MTN Rwanda and MTN Uganda generated strong performances, strengthening their respective market positions.
Growth was widespread across all metrics, including subscriber numbers and earnings levels.
In Rwanda, MTN’s mobile subscribers increased by 6.0% year-on-year (YoY) to 7.0 million, active data subscribers rose by 5.1% YoY to 2.3 million, while Mobile Money (MoMo) subscribers grew by 14.4% YoY to 4.4 million.
MTN Rwanda’s financials were also positive, as service revenue increased by 14.7% to Rwf 120.5 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 4.8% to Rwf 55.0 billion
“We expect the second half of the year to generate further growth to Rwanda’s economy, despite challenges in the macro environment. We are excited to realise the growth and efficiencies that 4G will unlock,” says Mapula Bodibe, CEO, MTN Rwanda.
MTN and its peer Airtel recently launched 4G LTE networks in the East African nation, after Rwanda’s government reversed its previous decision to depend on a single wholesale network for 4G, 5G and future communications technologies.
Bodibe says MTN Rwanda’s rollout of its own 4G network promises to deliver growth with greater efficiencies and improved quality of service.
Looking ahead, Bodibe says: “We expect full year 2023 guidance to remain intact with mid-teens service growth and healthy EBITDA margins as we invest in leading digital solutions for Rwanda’s progress. MTN Rwanda will continue to focus on execution of its Ambition 2025 strategy while preserving shareholder value and providing digital solutions to drive Rwanda’s progress.”
In Uganda, MTN’s mobile subscribers increased by 11.2% to 18.1 million, active data subscribers grew by 21.4% to 6.9 million, active fintech subscribers climbed by 11.6% to 10.9 million.
In the six months, MTN Uganda’s data revenue grew by 22.1% to Ush 290.2 billion, and fintech revenue surged by 18.6% to Ush 358.3 billion.
Service revenue grew by 15.0% to Ush 1,250 billion and EBITDA jumped by 16.8% to Ush 641.0 billion, profit after tax increased by 17.8% to Ush 228.0 billion and interim dividend was up by 19.0%.
Sylvia Mulinge, CEO, MTN Uganda, says: “We delivered a resilient performance in uncertain and evolving local and global macroeconomic conditions. The heightened inflationary environment during the period had a significant impact on consumers and business operations. Inflation in H1 2023 averaged 8.0%, compared to 4.6% in H1 2022.”
She adds: “Our investment in this period has been focused on additional spectrum acquisition and acceleration of 4G connectivity alongside our fibre to home strategy. We are pleased to report that the Uganda Communications Commission granted us spectrum on the 2600Mhz, 2300Mhz, 700MHz and e-Band in the period.
“This will go a long way in enhancing our future network performance and 5G operationalisation, which will augment our growth ambitions. In terms of network rollout, we have added 361 4G sites in the period, boosting 4G population coverage to 83.4% (compared to 67.7% in H1 2022). Our 3G and 2G coverage grew to 92.4% (was 91.0% in H1 ‘22) and 98.4% (was 98.0% in H1 ‘22) respectively.”
Mulinge says that increased focus on smartphone adoption through partnerships with manufacturers and an enhanced device financing programme helped to address affordability challenges. “These initiatives drove a 24.1% growth in smartphone users and improved our smartphone penetration to 35.7% (up 3.7pp).”