MTN Group reported a very strong set of operational and financial results for 2020, demonstrating business resilience under COVID-19 pressures and a challenging macroeconomic environment.
The compnay also announced its re-positioned strategy – Ambition 2025 – to accelerate growth and reveal the value of its infrastructure assets and platforms.
The Group added 29 million subscribers in the year, to reach a total of 280 million across 21 markets.
It reported a 52% increase in adjusted headline earnings per share, a four-percentage point increase in return on equity to 17% and more than doubled the operating cash flow to R28,3 billion.
“We continued to perform favourably against our medium-term targets,” said MTN Group president and chief executive officer, Ralph Mupita.
“In constant currency terms, service revenue grew 11,9% to R170 billion and EBITDA increased by 13,4%, maintaining our strong operating leverage. The Group’s EBITDA margin improved by 0,9pp to 42,7%, benefiting from the execution of our expense efficiency programme.”
In Uganda, MTN posted a strong performance in quarter 4 of 2020 despite the Covid-19 disruptions. The subscriber base increased by 12.3% to 14.2 million subscribers, up from 12.6 million the previous year.
Active data users were up by 34.8% to 4.6 million, which drove an increase in traffic also brought about by higher levels of online demand resulting from the effects of Covid-19. This was supported by learn-from-home and work-from-home offerings provided for our customers.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, MTN Uganda undertook a number of initiatives aimed at easing the negative impact of the pandemic on its customers and the economy as a whole.
MTN Uganda lowered MoMo transaction rates to enhance individual disposable income for its customers and launched subsidized data bundles to ease the transition to working from home.
MTN also zero-rated university and school websites to facilitate home learning. In total MTN Uganda spent in excess of Shs 2 billion on various COVID 19 interventions.
“MTN Uganda is committed to enhancing the wellbeing of our customers especially in the midst of global challenges. We will continue to invest in better connectivity, a seamless customer experience and better pricing structure to enable us to continue delivering a bold, new digital world for our customers, Wim Vanhelleputte, MTN Uganda chief executive officer said.
Vanhelleputte explained that with the planned listing of MTN Uganda on the Uganda Securities Exchange, the telecom company looks forward to enabling Ugandan’s to own a part of the success story of MTN, and that this will further accelerate performance going forward.
MTN Group also announced a revised strategy.
“Further to our previous announcement regarding our intention to focus on our pan-Africa strategy, we completed a comprehensive strategy review in Q4 2020 and are excited to introduce ‘Ambition 2025’,” Mupita said.
“As part of this strategic repositioning, we are looking to structurally separate our infrastructure assets and platforms, such as fintech, to reveal value and attract third-party capital and partnerships into these businesses, over the medium-term.”
He said going forward, they believe that Ambition 2025 will position the business to capture the exciting opportunities across their markets and their medium-term guidance has been enhanced to reflect this accelerating growth outlook.