Yemisi Izuora/Agency Report
Africa’s largest telecom provider MTN Group posted an 8.7 percent rise in full-year earnings on Wednesday after a revenue boost from Nigeria, but warned of possible headwinds as weaker oil prices bring economic doubts to its key market.
While Nigeria’s performance was below MTN’s own expectations after regulatory and operational challenges, its revenue increased by more than 12 percent.
“In Nigeria some level of uncertainty remains with regards to the implications of the oil price and currency fluctuations, which may lead to slower economic growth,” MTN said in a statement.
With operations in nearly two dozen countries, the company expects to add 17.5 million customers in 2015, more than a quarter of them in Nigeria alone.
MTN said diluted headline earnings per share, the main measure of profitability in South Africa, rose to 1,527 cents in the year ended December from a restated 1,404 cents a year earlier.
The increase was in line with MTN’s guidance that headline earnings per share would come in 5-15 percent higher. It declared a 1,245 cents per share total dividend.
Revenue grew 6.4 percent after MTN raised customer numbers by 7.5 percent to 223.4 million subscribers. The company said data revenue was a key driver of growth, climbing 33 percent to contribute nearly a fifth of overall revenue.
The company’s stock has fallen nearly 6 percent so far this year, compared with a 7 percent increase by Johannesburg’s Top-40 index.