Condensed consolidated financial results for the 6 months ended 30 June 2019
MTN Group Limited
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)
(Registration number 1994/009584/06)
(Share code MTN)
("MTN" or "the group")
Condensed consolidated financial results for the 6 months ended 30 June 2019
MTN is an emerging market mobile operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of
a bold, new digital world to our 240 million subscribers across 21 operations. We are
inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.
- Subscribers increased by 7,7 million to 240 million from 31 December 2018
- Service revenue grew by 9,7%*
- EBITDA margin improved to 35,2%* (43,1%**)
- EBITDA˜ (before once-off items) increased by 10,2%* (34,7%**)
- Reported group EPS at 247 cps**, up 17,2%^ (1,2%**)
- Reported group HEPS at 195 cps**, up 8,8%^ (down 9,3%**)
- Non-operational impacts, including IFRS 16 (39 cents), lowered HEPS by 102 cps
- Holding company leverage stable at 2,3x
- Interim dividend of 195 cents per share in line with guidance, up 11,4%
* Constant currency information after accounting for the impact of the pro forma adjustments as
defined and IFRS 16 for comparative purposes
** Reported is IFRS 16 vs IAS 17
^ IAS 17 2019 vs IAS 17 2018
˜ EBITDA is defined as earnings before finance income and finance costs (which includes gains or
losses on foreign exchange transactions), tax, depreciation and amortisation, and is also presented
before recognising the following items: Impairment of joint venture and goodwill (MEIH); net monetary
gain resulting from the application of hyperinflation; share of results of associates and joint
ventures after tax; hyperinflation; tower sale profits; gain on disposal of subsidiary (Cyprus);
CBN resolution; and gain on dilution of investment in associates and joint ventures (Travelstart
and Jumia). EBITDA after once-off items increased 39,9%**
ROE is calculated based on reported group HEPS of 195 cps plus non-operational impacts of 102 cps
Any forward-looking financial information disclosed in this results announcement has not been reviewed
or audited or otherwise reported on by our external joint auditors.
Service revenue excludes device and SIM card revenue.
Data revenue is mobile and fixed access data and excludes roaming and wholesale.
Fintech includes Mobile Money (MoMo), insurance, airtime lending and ecommerce.
All financial numbers are year on year (YoY) unless otherwise stated.
All subscriber numbers are compared to end December 2018 unless otherwise stated.
Below provides the impact of IFRS 16 on the numbers disclosed in these results.
All prior period financial and non-financial numbers have been adjusted for the disposal of
MTN Cyprus for comparability purposes.
Certain information presented in these results constitutes pro forma financial information. This is
presented for illustrative purposes only. Because of its nature, the pro forma financial information
may not fairly present MTN's financial position, changes in equity, and results of operations or
cash flows. It has not been audited or reviewed or otherwise reported on by our external joint auditors.
1. The financial information presented in these consolidated financial results has been prepared
excluding the impact of hyperinflation and the goodwill and asset impairments, tower profits, the
Nigerian regulatory fine (consisting of the re-measurement impact when the settlement was entered
into and the finance costs recognised as a result of the unwind of the initial discounting of the
liability), gain on dilution of Jumia, impairment of investment in MEIH, gain on Travelstart and
impact of IFRS 16 ("the pro forma adjustments") and constitutes pro forma financial information
to the extent that it is not extracted from the segment disclosure included in the reviewed condensed
consolidated interim financial statements for the six months ended 30 June 2019. This pro forma
financial information has been presented to eliminate the impact of the pro forma adjustments from
the consolidated financial results to achieve a comparable YoY analysis. The pro forma adjustments
have been calculated in terms of the group accounting policies disclosed in the consolidated financial
statements for the year ended 31 December 2018, except for the changes in accounting policies as a
result of the adoption of the accounting standards effective 1 January 2019, and the change in the
presentation of cash flows.
2. Constant currency information has been presented to illustrate the impact of changes in currency rates
on the group's results. In determining the change in constant currency terms, the current financial
reporting period's results have been adjusted to the prior period average exchange rates determined
as the average of the monthly exchange rates. The measurement has been performed for each of the
group's currencies, materially being that of the US dollar and Nigerian naira. The constant currency
growth percentage has been calculated based on the current year constant currency results compared to
the prior year results. In addition, in respect of MTN Irancell, MTN Sudan, MTN South Sudan and
MTN Syria, the constant currency information has been prepared excluding the impact of hyperinflation.
The economies of Sudan, South Sudan and Syria were assessed to be hyperinflationary for the period
under review and hyperinflation accounting was applied.
This short-form announcement is the responsibility of the directors and represents only a summary of
the information contained in the full interim financial results. Consequently, it does not contain full
or complete details. Any investment decisions made by investors and/or shareholders should be based on
consideration of the full interim financial results as a whole and investors and/or shareholders are
encouraged to review the full interim financial results. This short-form announcement does not include
the information required pursuant to paragraph 16A(j) of IAS 34. This short-form announcement is itself
not reviewed or audited but is extracted from the underlying reviewed information.
The full interim financial results are available on the company's website at:
and on the JSE's website at:
The group's results are presented in line with the group's operational structure. This is South Africa,
Nigeria, the Southern and East Africa and Ghana (SEAGHA) region, the West and Central Africa (WECA)
region and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and their respective underlying operations.
The SEAGHA region includes Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Botswana (held for sale),
eSwatini (joint venture-equity accounted) and Business Group. The WECA region includes Cameroon,
Ivory Coast, Benin, Congo Brazzaville, Liberia, Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau. The MENA region
includes Iran (joint venture-equity accounted), Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Afghanistan. The operation
in Cyprus was disposed of and is no longer included in the results effective 4 September 2018.
Although Iran, Botswana and eSwatini form part of their respective regions geographically and
operationally, they are excluded from their respective regional results because Iran and eSwatini
are equity accounted for by the group and Botswana is held for sale.
Group president and CEO, Rob Shuter comments:
"We delivered encouraging results for the period, against the backdrop of difficult trading conditions.
South Africa in particular was impacted by a weak economy as well as the implementation of lower out-of-bundle
pricing and the new ICASA subscriber regulations in the first quarter of the year. Despite these headwinds, we
progressed with our plans to build a digital operator, growing service revenue by 9,7%* and EBITDA by 10,2%*,
which supported solid growth in operational earnings. Our holding company leverage ratio remained stable at
2,3x and we reduced our capex intensity to 16,9%^.
Commercial momentum continued, with growth in our subscriber base of 7,7 million, in our active data users
of 3,5 million, and in our Mobile Money users of 2,4 million. We now have leading network NPS in more than
half of our markets, supported by the continued expansion and quality of our data networks.
We delivered on several strategic projects including the listings of MTN Nigeria on the Nigerian Stock
Exchange and Jumia, our e-commerce venture, on the New York Stock Exchange. The asset realisation programme
delivered R2,1 billion to the group in the second quarter, we launched our Ayoba messaging platform in
3 markets and we were awarded a super-agent licence in Nigeria, enabling the expansion of our fintech business.
We remain focused on building our digital operator strategy, focusing on being a scale player in both our
evolving telco services as well as digital and fintech and delivering on our medium-term targets."
MTN reported encouraging operational results for the 6 months as we remained focused on executing our
BRIGHT strategy. We continued to grow service revenue ahead of inflation, to increase our margin on earnings
before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) slightly and to reduce capital expenditure
Macroeconomic conditions were challenging, particularly in South Africa, with the economy contracting in the
first quarter and the rand weakening against the US dollar.
Group service revenue increased by 9,7%* in constant currency terms. This was led by growth of 12,2%* by
MTN Nigeria, 18,7%* by MTN Ghana and 3,3% by MTN South Africa. The performance of MTN South Africa was impacted
by changes to out-of-bundle (OOB) tariffs and a reassessment of revenue recognition criteria and adjustments
required due to delayed payments under the network roaming agreement with Cell C. As a result of the
reassessment and in compliance with IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers, we have not recognised
revenue amounting to R393 million for network roaming services provided to Cell C during the period. We are
evaluating a sustainable solution to the agreement with Cell C.
Voice revenue increased by 4,5%*. This was underpinned by customer growth, the benefits of our customer
value management (CVM) initiatives and our focus on segmented offers. Group subscribers increased by
7,7 million to 240 million and we rolled out our Pulse youth offer in 16 markets.
Group data revenue expanded by 19,8%*, supported by healthy growth in active data users to 82 million as we
improved the coverage and quality of our data networks. Across our markets, we increased 3G and 4G population
coverage by 24,4 million and 32,5 million people respectively. The effective rate per megabyte across our
markets declined by 26,1%, with average usage up 24,6% at 2,7GB per month.
Digital revenue decreased by 42,5%*. This was largely the result of the continued optimisation of
traditional value-added services. In June, we recorded an increase in digital revenue month-on-month. We are
focused on growing our modern digital offerings through our music, instant messaging and advertising platforms.
We continued to expand MusicTime!, focusing on customer awareness and refining our go-to-market strategy.
Following the launch of Ayoba in 3 markets, we recorded 300 000 monthly active users at the end of the period.
Fintech revenue increased by 30,7%*, supported by customer growth of 8,9% to 30 million active Mobile Money
(MoMo) users with a monthly ARPU of US$1,30. The total value of transactions in the six months to June was
US$44,1 billion, and we processed 9 193 transactions per minute. In May, we launched Africa's first MoMo
artificial intelligence service or chatbot in Ivory Coast. Our aYo joint venture insurance business recorded
almost 4,2 million registered policy holders across our African footprint in the first half, as we launched the
offering in Ghana.
Enterprise revenue increased by 6,8%*, supported by 31,2%* growth in MTN Nigeria's enterprise revenue. We
continue to execute our turnaround plan in South Africa and month-on-month revenue trends improved in the
Wholesale revenue continued to grow, up by 127,9%*, driven by national roaming contracts in South Africa
(Cell C and Telkom), and solid growth in MTN GlobalConnect where we signed up more key accounts and grew our
application-to-person messaging services through the Yellow Connect platform.
Improvements in the quality and capacity of our networks supported overall growth. We invested
R12 244 million^, rolling out a total of 3 378 3G and 6 099 4G sites. Capex intensity reduced to
16,9%^ from 19,3% in December.
The group's EBITDA margin in constant currency terms improved marginally to 35,2%*. A 1,5 percentage point
(pp)* improvement in the Nigerian margin was offset by the lower margin in MTN South Africa, impacted by the
reduction of OOB tariffs on data services and the Cell C receivable impairment. The group's reported EBITDA
margin was 43,1%** compared to 35,6%** in June 2018, impacted by the adoption of IFRS 16, foreign exchange
gains on translation and the gain on dilution of our e-commerce venture Jumia upon listing.
Basic earnings per share increased to 247 cents** from 244 cents**. This was negatively impacted by 39 cents
or 13,6% because of the implementation of IFRS 16.
Reported headline earnings per share (HEPS) were 195 cents** from 215 cents** in June 2018.
HEPS were negatively impacted in aggregate by 102 cents from the following items: a 39 cents impact of IFRS
16; 8 cents relating to the Nigeria fine interest (from 17 cents in June 2018); hyperinflation (excluding
impairments) of 8 cents (from 27 cents in June 2018); the impact of foreign exchange gains and losses of
39 cents (from 21 cents in June 2018); and divestments of 8 cents (-15 cents in June 2018). HEPS were further
impacted by the depreciation of the Iranian rial, which resulted in lower earnings from MTN Irancell.
On an IAS 17 basis, return on equity (ROE) increased to 12,9% from 11,5% in December 2018. Taking into
account the adoption of IFRS 16, ROE declined to 11,2%.
Regulatory and legal considerations
We continued to work toward resolving various regulatory issues.
In Uganda, we continue to engage with the Ugandan authorities on the licence renewal.
In Nigeria, the tax dispute between MTN Nigeria and the Attorney General is ongoing. In June the matter was
adjourned to 29 October 2019 for the purposes of trial. We remain resolute that MTN Nigeria has not committed
any offence and will continue to defend this position.
Mobile money regulations issued by central banks are at various stages of development and implementation
across the group's operations. These regulations govern the way mobile money services are conducted as well as
the rights and obligations of all parties to the mobile money service offering, including rights to cash backing
the mobile money issued held with the banks and obligations to make payments to subscribers. Laws and
regulations differ from country to country and in some instances do not explicitly state who takes on the credit
risk. The group therefore applies a level of judgement and continues to monitor and assess these regulations to
determine the impact on its operations and results.
The board declared a gross interim dividend of 195 cents per share.
Capex guidance 2019 (including the impact of IFRS 16)
Estimated Estimated Capitalised Capitalised Capitalised
(IFRS 16) Estimated (IAS 17) (IFRS 16) Leases (IAS 17) Capitalised
2019 Leases 2019 1H19 1H19 1H19 1H18
(Rm) (Rm) (Rm) (Rm) (Rm) (Rm) (Rm)
South Africa 10 200 1 600 8 600 5 773 2 407 3 366 3 907
Nigeria 9 500 1 300 8 200 4 050 376 3 674 2 320
SEAGHA 5 500 500 5 000 3 574 318 3 256 2 219
WECA 3 100 200 2 900 1 218 125 1 093 2 351
MENA 1 550 50 1 500 646 12 634 572
Global Connect 2 000 200 1 800 194 - 194 93
Total 31 850 3 850 28 000 15 455 3 238 12 217 11 462
Hyperinflation - - - 27 - 27 (1)
Total reported 31 850 3 850 28 000 15 482 3 238 12 244 11 461
Iran (49%) 2 297 2 260 861 813 1 622
Headline earnings reconciliation
ment of Gain on
goodwill, dilution of
PPE, JV investment Nigeria
IFRS and in JV/ Headline fine
1H19 (Rm) reported associates1 associate2 Other3 earnings interest4
Revenue 72 505 - - - 72 505 -
Other income 1 242 - (1 151) (25) 66 -
EBITDA 31 245 59 (1 151) (25) 30 128 -
goodwill 15 995 (191) - - 15 804 -
Profit from operations 15 250 250 (1 151) (25) 14 324 -
Net finance cost 7 088 - - - 7 088 (189)
monetary gain 338 - - - 338 -
Share of results of
associates and joint
ventures after tax (29) - (37) - (66) -
Profit before tax 8 471 250 (1 188) (25) 7 508 189
Income tax expense 3 180 - - 3 180 -
Profit after tax 5 291 250 (1 188) (25) 4 328 189
interests 858 (25) - (2) 831 40
Attributable profit 4 433 275 (1 188) (23) 3 497 149
EBITDA margin (%) 43,1 41,5
Effective tax rate (%) 37,5 42,4
Headline earnings reconciliation (continued)
Hyper- Impact of
impair- losses Divest- Impact of Adjusted % move-
1H19 (Rm) ments)5 and gains6 ments7 IFRS 168 2019 ment
Revenue (218) - - - 72 287 17,0
Other income (1) - - - 65 (17,7)
EBITDA (54) - - (4 371) 25 703 19,8
goodwill (261) - - (2 774) 12 769 14,7
Profit from operations 207 - - (1 597) 12 934 25,2
Net finance cost (44) (869) - (2 688) 3 298 24,1
monetary gain (338) - - - - -
Share of results of
associates and joint
ventures after tax 252 - - 8 194 (58,5)
Profit before tax 165 869 - 1 099 9 830 20,8
Income tax expense 8 236 - 305 3 729 38,3
Profit after tax 157 633 - 794 6 101 12,1
interests 10 (71) (147) 83 746 12,0
Attributable profit 147 704 147 711 5 355 12,1
EBITDA margin (%) 35,5
Effective tax rate (%) 37,9
Headline earnings reconciliation (continued)
ment of Gain on
goodwill, dilution of
PPE, JV investment Nigeria
IFRS and in JV/ Headline fine
1H18 (Rm) reported associates1 associate2 Other3 earnings interest4
Revenue 62 777 - - - 62 777 -
Other income 406 - (304) (23) 79 -
EBITDA 22 335 (244) (304) (23) 21 764 -
goodwill 11 503 (149) - - 11 354 -
operations 10 832 (95) (304) (23) 10 410 -
Net finance cost 3 677 - - - 3 677 (396)
monetary gain 100 - - - 100 -
Share of results
of associates and
after tax 197 - (134) - 63 -
Profit before tax 7 452 (95) (438) (23) 6 896 396
Income tax expense 2 541 - - - 2 541 -
Profit after tax 4 911 (95) (438) (23) 4 355 396
interests 530 (42) - - 488 84
Attributable profit 4 381 (53) (438) (23) 3 867 312
EBITDA margin (%) 35,6 34,7
Effective tax rate (%) 34,1 36,8
Headline earnings reconciliation (continued)
Hyper- Impact of
impair- losses Divest- Impact of Adjusted
1H18 (Rm) ments)5 and gains6 ments7 IFRS 168 2018
Revenue (65) - (917) - 61 795
Other income - - - - 79
EBITDA (1) - (302) - 21 461
goodwill (91) - (131) - 11 132
operations 90 - (171) - 10 329
Net finance cost 1 (600) (25) - 2 657
monetary gain (100) - - - -
Share of results
of associates and
after tax 540 - (136) - 467
Profit before tax 529 600 (282) - 8 139
Income tax expense 15 160 (19) - 2 697
Profit after tax 514 440 (263) - 5 442
interests 23 71 - - 666
Attributable profit 491 369 (263) - 4 776
EBITDA margin (%) 34,7
Effective tax rate (%) 33,1
1 Represents the exclusion of the impact of goodwill, PPE and joint venture impairments. 2019: In relation
to impairments in MEIH (R191 million). 2018: In relation to MTN Yemen (R149 million) and reversal of the
hyperinflation-related asset impairment in MTN Sudan (R306 million).
2 Represents the gain on dilution of the group's investments. In 2019: R1 188 million (Jumia:
R1 039 million, MEIH R37 million and a gain on disposal of TravelStart R112 million). 2018: Gain
on dilution of investment in IIG (R304 million share in group and R134 million in Iran).
3 Release of a deferred gain of R18 million (2018: R12 million) in Ghana on the sale of tower assets
during the prior period and offset by losses incurred on the disposal of items of property, plant and
4 Exclusion of finance cost recognised as a result of the unwind of the discounting of the financial
liability created on conclusion of the Nigeria regulatory fine.
5 The impact of hyperinflation is excluded for the operations that are currently accounted for on a
hyperinflationary basis (MTN Syria, MTN Sudan and MTN South Sudan) as well as those that have previously been
accounted for on a hyperinflationary basis. The economy of MTN Sudan was assessed to be hyperinflationary
effective 1 July 2018. The economy of Iran was assessed to no longer be hyperinflationary effective
1 July 2015 and hyperinflation accounting was discontinued from this date onwards. For this operation
the impact of hyperinflation unwinds over time mainly through depreciation, amortisation or subsequent
6 Adjustment for the net forex losses impacting earnings for the respective periods (2019: R 704 million;
2018: R369 million). This includes the impact of forex gains in Iran.
7 Represents divestments in the group. 2019: Dilution of Ghana shareholding from 97.65% to 85.49%. 2018:
Sale of Cyprus operations and Botswana operations which is now held for sale.
8 Removing the impact of IFRS 16 to get an IAS 17 view.
IFRS 16 impacts
The following tables show the impact of IFRS 16 on the numbers disclosed in our results on the income
statement, statement of financial position and statement of cash flow as at 30 June 2019.
Income statement IFRS 16 impacts
Group SA Nigeria Ghana
Revenue - - - -
Operating expenses 4 371 704 2 032 567
EBITDA 4 371 704 2 032 567
Depreciation (2 774) (567) (1 074) (321)
Amortisation - - - -
Impairment of goodwill - - - -
Operating profit 1 597 137 958 246
Interest expense (2 640) (525) (1 310) (390)
Foreign exchange gains or losses (48) 2 - (49)
Share of results of associates and joint ventures (8) - - -
Profit before tax (1 099) (386) (352) (193)
Income tax expense 305 101 115 45
Profit after tax (794) (285) (237) (148)
Attributable to equity holders of parent (711) (285) (237) (148)
Non-controlling interest (83) - - -
Statement of financial position IFRS 16 impacts
Group SA Nigeria Ghana
Non-current assets 44 580 12 767 18 995 4 357
Property, plant and equipment (162) (102)
ROU asset 45 137 12 869 19 390 4 357
Interest in joint ventures (8) - - -
Deferred tax 8
Non-current prepayments (395) - (395) -
Current assets (2 331) (380) (1 632) (57)
Prepayments (2 331) (380) (1 632) (57)
Total assets 42 249 12 387 17 363 4 300
Total equity (794) (285) (237) (148)
Equity (711) (285) (237) (148)
Non-controlling interest (83) - - -
Non-current liabilities 41 500 11 977 18 252 4 218
Lease liability - non-current 41 753 12 078 18 366 4 218
Deferred tax (253) (101) (114) -
Current liabilities 1 543 695 (652) 230
Lease liability - current 3 427 695 1 156 307
Accrued expenses (1 835) - (1 808) (30)
Current tax (49) - - (47)
Total equity and liabilities 42 249 12 387 17 363 4 300
Statement of cashflow IFRS 16 impacts
Group SA Nigeria Ghana
Net cash generated from
operating activities 2 016 388 781 256
Cash generated from operations 4 321 925 1 955 537
Interest paid (2 305) (537) (1 174) (281)
Net cash used in financing activities (2 016) (388) (781) (256)
Repayment of lease liability (2 016) (388) (781) (256)
Net decrease in cash
and cash equivalents - - - -
The weaker average rand and stronger Nigerian naira had a positive translation impact on rand-reported
results, while the depreciation of the Iranian rial had a negative impact on rand-reported results. The average
naira remained flat against the US dollar YoY, and the closing rate at end-June 2019 was up 1,0% YoY. The average
rand weakened by 15,4% YoY against the US dollar and closed 1,9% stronger.
Group revenue increased by 10,2%* and service revenue increased by 9,7%*, supported by growth in MTN Nigeria
(up 12,2%*), MTN Ghana (up 18,7%*), MTN Uganda (up 13,7%*) and MTN South Africa (up 3,3%). Growth in MTN South
Africa was impacted by a decline in consumer prepaid revenue following the implementation of new rules and
the reduction of out-of-bundle tariffs, as well as lower revenue from Cell C. MTN Cameroon reversed service
revenue declines, reporting flat growth, while MTN Ivory Coast's service revenue declined by 10,1%*.
Voice grew by 4,5%* to R39,7 billion, data was up by 19,8%* to R16,1 billion, fintech grew by 30,7%* to
R4,7 billion and digital declined by 42,5%* to R1,4 billion. Enterprise and wholesale grew by 6,8%* and
127,9%* respectively to R6,5 billion and R2,6 billion.
Total costs increased by 9,2%*, mainly impacted by costs associated with the rollout of network sites.
EBITDA excludes impairment of goodwill, net monetary gains and share of results of associates and joint
ventures after tax. Group EBITDA increased by 10,2%*. It was driven by increases of 16,1%*, 24,2%*, 28,9%*
and 32,4%* in MTN Nigeria, MTN Ghana, MTN Uganda and MTN Cameroon respectively, and lower head office costs.
This was offset by the performance of MTN South Africa as well as a reduced contribution from MTN Ivory Coast.
The group EBITDA margin increased by 0,1 percentage points* to 35,2%*.
Depreciation, amortisation and impairment of goodwill
The group depreciation charge increased by 7,0%* because of the higher capex over the past few years.
Amortisation costs increased by 10,9%*, after higher expenditure on software in the previous period.
Net finance costs
Net finance costs increased by 92,8%** to R7 088 million**, largely due to the adoption of IFRS 16
(R2 688 million).
Net interest expenses increased by 19,1%^ on a like-for-like basis (excluding the impact of IFRS 16 and Nigeria
regulatory fine interest unwind), impacted by an increase in MTN Nigeria debt to R4 759 million from the
R774 million reported in December 2018.
Net forex losses increased by 77,7%** to R1 066 million, largely due to a weaker average rand resulting in
foreign exchange losses on US dollar debt, R716 million net forex losses in head offices due to Nigeria
preference share redemption, the MTN Irancell receivable and MTN (Netherlands) BV US dollar-denominated loan.
Share of results of associates and joint ventures after tax
We reported a loss of R29 million** from associates and joint ventures, compared to a profit of R197 million**
in June 2018. This was because of a lower profit contribution from MTN Irancell following the marked
depreciation in the rial, as well as the change in accounting for Mascom which is now held for sale on the
statement of financial position. As of 12 April 2019, Jumia was no longer equity accounted. This contributed
to lower losses from the e-commerce group.
The reported effective tax rate was 37,5%**, higher than the prior year's rate of 34,1%** mainly due to
higher non-deductible MTN Sudan expenses and higher withholding taxes driven by higher cash upstreamed in the
period. For the six months to end-June 2019, the group's reported taxation charge increased by 25,1%** YoY to
R3 180 million**.
Cash inflows generated from operations increased by 24,8%** to R20 906 million**. Key cash outflows included
cash capex of R13 587 million** and dividends paid to equity holders of R5 851 million**. This was also
impacted by the final Nigeria fine payment (R4 440 million) and the CBN resolution payment (R731 million).
Group net debt increased to R70 872 million** from R63 546 million**. This was largely impacted by increased
borrowings by MTN Nigeria, as the Nigeria business made progress in optimising its capital structure.
Holdco borrowings increased to R59 695 million** from R57 508 million** in December 2018. Gearing at the
holdco remained stable at 2,3x from year-end.
MTN South Africa
- Service revenue increased by 3,3%
- Data revenue increased by 5,6%
- Fintech revenue increased by 21,6%
- Digital revenue decreased by 34,5%
- EBITDA increased by 0,2%* to R7 462 million
- EBITDA margin decreased by 1,9 pp* to 33,3%*
- Capex decreased by 13,8%*
MTN South Africa reported improved service revenue in the period. Growth in wholesale and consumer postpaid
revenue supported service revenue growth but was offset by a 5,5% reduction in prepaid service revenue coupled
by the Cell C adjustments made.
The prepaid business negatively impacted service revenue growth mainly as a result of the implementation of
ICASA's End User Subscriber Service Charter regulations and the reduction of out-of-bundle (OOB) tariffs on
data services, as well as the impact on consumer spending of the contraction of the economy.
The consumer postpaid business remained resilient in tough conditions delivering a 7% service revenue
growth. Consumer additions were muted on the back of stricter vetting rules targeting a reduction in credit
risk due to tougher economic times.
A combination of changes in the acquisition strategy in consumer postpaid as well as the discontinuation of
the 1GB acquisition promotion in prepaid in order to drive distribution efficiencies resulted in a 1,9 million
decrease in the subscriber base from December 2018 to a closing subscriber base of 29,2 million.
We continued to execute on the turnaround of the enterprise business, leading to lower service revenue
reductions of -7,8% from -11,3% in the 2018 full year as we stabilised churn and added new corporate customers.
We are confident that this trend will gain further traction in the second half of the year.
The 1,9pp decline in the EBITDA margin was a result of the reduction of OOB tariffs and the Cell C
adjustments. MTN South Africa increased the distribution of 3G and 4G devices by 22% as enablers of future
data growth. Operating expenses were impacted by a number of external factors such as load shedding, battery
theft and site vandalisation. These, together with the progressively expanding network footprint, resulted in
a 3,7% (+ 8,9%^) increase in total costs YoY. MTN South Africa's network investments continue to deliver
network leadership endorsement from subscribers and industry bodies such as MyBroadband and Ookla.
Subscribers ranked MTN South Africa as having the best customer service, reflected in our move to the
market's leading net promoter score.
After the end of the period, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies issued a policy on
high-demand spectrum and policy direction on the licensing of a Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN). This policy
direction initiates a process by which ICASA will license spectrum from various bands. We note the policy
direction and will have further engagements with the authorities. We are also engaging with the Minister and ICASA
on the release of further high-demand spectrum including the 5G bands, which will further enable the drive to
lower the cost of data.
- Service revenue increased by 12,2%*
- Data revenue increased by 31,8%*
- Fintech revenue increased by 21,2%*
- Digital revenue decreased by 64,3%*
- EBITDA grew by 16,1%* to R8 623 million*
- EBITDA margin increased by 1,5 pp* to 44,6%*
- Capex increased by 37,5%*
MTN Nigeria delivered a solid performance, with strong voice (+11,4%) and data revenue (+31,8%) driving
double-digit service revenue growth and further improving the EBITDA margin.
Voice revenue growth was supported by an increase in subscribers (+5,7%), relatively stable tariffs and our
focus on pro-consumer activities. This was boosted by our targeted customer value management (CVM)
Data revenue growth was driven by an increased number of smartphones on the network, greater data usage and
growth in the number of active data users. We added 2,5 million smartphones, increasing smartphone penetration
by 2,1pp to 39,2%. Active data users increased by 11,0% to 20,7 million and data traffic rose by 67% YoY.
Our fintech business continued to gain momentum with 21,2% growth in revenue YoY. The super-agent licence
will allow us to leverage our established distribution channels to offer a wide range of mobile financial
services. We will continue to work towards obtaining a payment service banking licence that we applied for
in late 2018. Digital revenue continued to be impacted by the optimisation of value-added services (VAS).
Our focus remains on building a sustainable base of active digital users in order to boost revenue growth.
Our enterprise business also delivered satisfactory results, with revenue increasing by 31,3%, to contribute
12,0% to service revenue.
The 1,5pp improvement in the EBITDA margin was supported by a stable naira against the US dollar benefiting
our operating expenses as well as lower digital expenses arising from our VAS optimisation initiatives.
Southern and East Africa and Ghana (SEAGHA)
- Service revenue increased by 19,4%*
- Data revenue increased by 27,8%*
- Fintech revenue increased by 32,9%*
- Digital revenue declined by 32,8%*
The solid performance of the SEAGHA region was largely driven by MTN Ghana, which lifted service revenue by
18,7%*, supported by contributions from voice, data and fintech revenue. MTN Ghana and MTN Uganda continued to
drive fintech revenue growth, with an increasing contribution from MTN MoMo, lending, pension and insurance
West and Central Africa (WECA)
- Service revenue increased by 0,5%*
- Data revenue increased by 24,9%*
- Fintech revenue increased by 35,5%*
- Digital revenue declined by 58,8%*
We delivered on our plans to stabilise our WECA region, recording a stronger second quarter performance.
In a highly contested market, MTN Ivory Coast returned to competitiveness and implemented an aggressive
efficiency programme to reduce costs in support of margin improvements. The operating environment in Cameroon
remained challenging, given the conflict in the Northwest and Southwest, however we are encouraged by the
positive YoY service revenue trends in the first half. We reported strong net additions and value share gains
in both MTN Cameroon and MTN Ivory Coast. Across the region we saw a sharp increase in MoMo users, which
supported fintech revenue growth.
Middle East and North Africa (MENA) (excluding Iran)
- Service revenue increased by 19,8%*
- Data revenue increased by 45,6%*
- Fintech revenue increased by 80,8%*
- Digital revenue increased by 26,1%*
Despite the geopolitical challenges across the region, MTN operations in MENA delivered a strong
performance, largely driven by MTN Syria and MTN Sudan, delivering service revenue growth of 14,0%* and
49,4%* respectively. This was supported by the solid growth in data and voice revenue.
Associates, joint ventures and investments
MTN Irancell recorded a pleasing result given the challenges the business faced following the
re-introduction of US sanctions, the depreciation of the currency and high inflation rates. Service revenue grew
by 17,9%*, with voice up by 24,4%* and data revenue up by 22,4%*. The reported results from Iran were however
negatively impacted on translation following the move to report exchange rates at the Sana rate as of August 2018.
The average Sana rate in the reporting period was 51,3% weaker relative to the prior period. This added to the
additional forex losses against the Iranian receivable of R1 295 million at the end of the period. The value
of the Irancell receivable as at 30 June 2019 was R3,0 billion.
Following the Jumia IPO and making reference to the NYSE share price of the business at the end of the
period (30 June 2019), we now value our 18,9% stake at R5,5 billion at an American Depositary Share (ADS)
price of $26,42. As at 6 August 2019 the Jumia ADS price was at $13,81.
Middle East Internet Holding disposed of online platform Wadi, simplifying the portfolio and reducing
ongoing capital requirements. Ride-hailing service Jeeny recorded a 75% YoY increase in ride numbers and
bookings on cleaning service app Helpling increased by 54% YoY. As at 30 June 2019 an impairment of
R191 million was recognised for MEIH.
Within IIG, ride-hailing app Snapp recorded 2 million rides daily, ranking it among the top ride-hailing
apps globally. Food delivery app Snappfood grew by 197% YoY and led the market with almost 80% market share.
Snapptrip grew by 116% YoY and is number 1 in the local hotel booking market.
As MTN re-focuses its business on building an integrated digital operator, these e-commerce holdings, while
important investments, are not viewed as long-term strategic holdings for the group.
Investments in tower companies
Our associate tower businesses include our 49% holdings in both ATC Ghana and ATC Uganda. During the first
half we saw a strong contribution from both of R58 million in June 2019. Our 29% investment in IHS was fair
valued at R23,1 billion at 30 June 2019.
Although towers are an important operational component of the business, the investments in the existing
tower companies are not viewed as long-term strategic holdings of the group.
Prospects and guidance
Well positioned to deliver growth
Guided by our BRIGHT strategy, we are well positioned to grow by leveraging our scale and enhancing our
competitive position. Our markets are characterised by significant population growth, youthful demographics,
low levels of smartphone penetration and data and digital adoption, as well as large unbanked populations.
The enterprise and wholesale sectors are relatively undeveloped and growing fast. The combination of our large
customer base, extensive networks and deep distribution gives us access to large pools of revenue. We are
committed to building a digital operator, being a scale player in both the evolving telco and fintech and
digital services spaces.
Following data price reductions in South Africa and Nigeria, we expect price elasticity in the second half
of the year to improve data revenue growth. We expect lower wholesale revenue in MTN South Africa to be a
drag on service revenue following the end of the national wholesale deal with Telkom on 28 June 2019.
We plan to launch MoMo in South Africa in the second half of the year. On the back of the award of the
super-agent licence in Nigeria, we will accelerate our fintech ambitions and now fully leverage the extensive
distribution we have across the country to offer a range of transfer and payment services to our GSM customer base.
We will continue to work towards obtaining a payment service banking licence in Nigeria. We will roll out our
MTN Homeland offering, allowing money to be sent to MoMo recipients in Africa from Europe quickly and
We will continue to expand our insurance business and leverage the partnership with Sanlam that we announced
in July 2019.
We plan to roll out Ayoba in Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Liberia in the second half of the year. We
will also integrate payments into the Ayoba service as part of our broadening of the fintech business, as well
as integrate Ayoba into MTN segmented offers. After launching our time-based music streaming service MusicTime!
in South Africa in December 2018, we plan to launch this next in Nigeria and Ghana.
We reiterate our guidance for the medium term (3 to 5 years) of double-digit growth in group service
revenue in constant currency terms, double-digit growth in MTN Nigeria's service revenue and mid-single-digit
growth in service revenue from MTN South Africa. Over this period, we expect to continue to increase our group
By leveraging historical investments, improved procurement processes and an increasing revenue contribution
from our digital businesses, we expect the group capex intensity to steadily improve over the medium term.
Our improving revenue growth, margins and capex intensity are anticipated to drive significant improvements
in group returns and cash flow.
The board remains committed to targeting growth of 10% to 20% in the dividend.
Portfolio optimisation and asset realisation programme
In the first half, we made progress on the asset realisation programme that we announced in March 2019.
The programme aims, over the next 3 years, to simplify our portfolio, reduce risk, improve returns and
realise capital of R15 billion, excluding IHS.
In the first half, we realised R2,1 billion through the sale of our shareholder loan in ATC Ghana to
American Tower Corporation for R900 million and the sale of our interests in investment fund Amadeus and its
associated holding in Travelstart for net proceeds of R1,2 billion.
In April 2019, Jumia Technologies AG successfully raised fresh capital and listed on the New York Stock
Exchange, resulting in a dilution of our shareholding from 29,7% to 18,9%. At 30 June 2019, this investment was
valued at R5,5 billion at an American Depositary Share (ADS) share price of $26,42. As of 6 August 2019 the
Jumia ADS price was $13,81.
The redemption of MTN Nigeria preference shares for a consideration of US$315 million has always been
envisaged as a necessary part of the simplification of our capital structure. The redemption process is underway and
will be completed after the necessary regulatory processes.
Our plan to dispose of our shareholding in Mascom Wireless Botswana for a consideration of US$300 million is
in progress. We expect this to be concluded during the second half of the year, subject to various conditions
precedents being met.
In May, we announced changes to the board. Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko will step down on 15 December 2019, when
chairman-designate Mcebisi Jonas will take the helm. This follows a specific request from our largest
shareholder that the board consider extending Nhleko's term beyond the date originally envisaged of
31 December 2018.
On 15 December 2019, Dr Khotso Mokhele will assume the responsibilities of lead independent director and
Alan Harper, Jeff van Rooyen and Koosum Kalyan will step down from the board. Peter Mageza and Dawn Marole
will retire as directors on 30 April 2020.
On 1 July 2019 Lamido Sanusi and Vincent Rague joined the board as non-executive directors.
We also announced the establishment of an international advisory board (IAB). The IAB is a non-statutory
entity which does not undertake fiduciary duties. It comprises prominent persons of considerable and wide-ranging
experience. The primary purpose of the IAB will be to counsel the MTN Group in fulfilling its objective of
being one of the premier African corporations and provide perspectives as it strives to contribute to certain
areas of development in the countries where MTN operates. While the IAB will be non-statutory in nature and not
have any fiduciary responsibility, it will make an important contribution in ensuring that the board is
assisted in achieving MTN's vision in a technically complex world with uncertain and shifting geopolitical
The IAB is chaired by His Excellency former President of the Republic of South Africa, President Thabo Mbeki
and constituted of:
- His Excellency President John Kufuor, former President of Ghana
- Dr Aisha Abdullahi, former African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs
- Dr Mohammed ElBaradei, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency
- Dr Momar Nguer, President of Marketing & Services, Total S.A. (France)
- Phuthuma Nhleko, Chairman of MTN Group
Declaration of interim ordinary cash dividend
Notice is hereby given that a gross interim dividend of 195 cents per share for the period to 30 June 2019
has been declared. The number of ordinary shares in issue at the date of this declaration is 1 884 269 758
(including 9 430 246 treasury shares held by MTN Holdings and 76 835 378 shares held by MTN Zakhele Futhi).
The dividend will be subject to a maximum local dividend tax rate of 20% which will result in a net dividend
of 156 cents per share to those shareholders who bear the maximum rate of dividend withholding tax of 39 cents
per share. The net dividend per share for the respective categories of shareholders for the different
dividend tax rates is as follows:
- 0% 195,00 cents per share
- 5% 185,25 cents per share
- 7,5% 180,38 cents per share
- 10% 175,50 cents per share
- 12,5% 170,63 cents per share
- 15% 165,75 cents per share
These different dividend tax rates are a result of the application of tax rates in various double-taxation
agreements as well as exemptions from dividend tax.
MTN Group Limited's tax reference number is 9692/942/71/8. In compliance with the requirements of Strate,
the electronic settlement and custody system used by the JSE Limited, the salient dates relating to the payment
of the dividend are as follows:
Declaration date Thursday, 8 August 2019
Last day to trade cum dividend on the JSE Tuesday, 27 August 2019
First trading day ex dividend on the JSE Wednesday, 28 August 2019
Record date Friday, 30 August 2019
Payment date Monday, 2 September 2019
No share certificates may be dematerialised or re-materialised between Wednesday, 28 August 2019 and
Friday, 30 August 2019, both days inclusive. On Monday, 2 September 2019 the dividend will be transferred
electronically to the bank accounts of certificated shareholders who make use of this facility.
In respect of those who do not use this facility, cheques dated Monday, 2 September 2019 will be posted on
or about this date. Shareholders who hold dematerialised shares will have their accounts held by the Central
Securities Depository Participant or broker credited on Monday, 2 September 2019.
For and on behalf of the board
PF Nhleko RA Shuter RT Mupita
Group chairman Group president and CEO Group CFO
7 August 2019
Date of release 8 August 2019
JP Morgan Equities South Africa Proprietary Limited
Tamela Holdings Proprietary Limited
Board of directors
MH Jonas* (appointed 1 June 2018)
BS Tshabalala* (appointed 1 June 2018)
KDK Mokhele* (appointed 1 July 2018)
J van Rooyen*
SLA Sanusi7* (appointed 1 July 2019)
VM Rague8* (appointed 1 July 2019)
* Independent non-executive
Private Bag X9955, Cresta, 2118
216 - 14th Avenue, Fairland, 2195
American depository receipt (ADR) programme
Cusip No. 62474M108
ADR to ordinary Share 1:1
The Bank of New York
101 Barclay Street, New York NY, 10286, USA
MTN Group sharecare line
Toll free: 0800 202 360 or +27 11 870 8206
If phoning from outside South Africa
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JP Morgan Equities (SA) Proprietary Limited
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Tamela Holdings Proprietary Limited
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Telephone: National 083 912 3000 and
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Facsimile: National 011 912 4093
International +27 11 912 4093
Date: 08/08/2019 07:05:00
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