Results from Africa’s leading telecoms network MTN shows that in the first half of 2023, it continued to demonstrate resilience in its business model through the execution of their Ambition 2025 strategy. The MTN Group’s H1 23 results published by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), indicate that operating conditions remained challenging due to ongoing pressures in the macroeconomic, geopolitical and regulatory environments across markets.
Growth of Data Traffic and Fintech Transactions
Despite the challenging trading environment, MTN continued to grow. Data traffic and fintech transactions soared by 18.5% (up by 35.0% excluding JVs) and 37.3% respectively. This supports their medium-term growth thesis, enabled by ongoing investment on their networks and platforms.
In H1, they deployed R17.2 billion of capex, reflecting a capex intensity of 15.2% – within their medium-term target range of 15-18%. The Group delivered service revenue growth of 15.1% (H1 2022: 14.8%), in line with medium-term guidance. Overall Group EBITDA increased by 13.5%, with an EBITDA margin of 44.00% as elevated inflation and foreign exchange (forex) depreciation continued to place upward pressure on costs.
Group Remains Focused on Ambition 2025 Strategy
MTN’s Group President and CEO, Ralph Mupita comments; “In the first half of 2023, MTN continued to demonstrate the resilience of its business model through the execution of our Ambition 2025 strategy. Operating conditions remained challenging due to ongoing pressures in the macroeconomic, geopolitical and regulatory environments across our markets.”
According to the results, in South Africa although there was some respite in Q2 2023 as loadshedding abated compared to Q1, power outages remained a constraint. MTN experienced 181 days of loadshedding in H1 2023 compared to 68 days in H1 2022. During that period the company focused on executing their network resilience programme and is pleased with the improvements in network availability.
Geopolitical Impact on Projected Growth
In Nigeria, the company made swift structural changes following President Tinubu’s inauguration. The government’s removal of the country’s fuel subsidy and the introduction of an effective free float of the naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria, seem to be positive for the Nigerian economy and are supportive of MTN medium to long term growth strategy.
Furthermore, the conflict in Sudan presenting numerous challenges continues to persist. Problems like the scarcity of basic goods, fuel shortages, and grid power shortages continue to affect the economy. Despite this, MTN continues to provide essential communication services while prioritizing the safety and well-being of their employees.
The disruptions in the country have had a notable impact on MTN Sudan’s service revenue and profit performance, with a contribution to Group EBITDA in H1 2023 of 1.3% which was considerably lower in Q2 due to their reduced ability to operate.