MTN said on Thursday that it expects to have swung back into a profitable position in the first six months on 2017, with headline earnings per share of between R2.10 and R2.30, compared to a headline loss a year ago of R2.71.
However, the earnings still fall well short of the numbers the emerging markets telecommunications group produced in the interim period in 2015, before Nigerian authorities imposed a record-setting fine on its subsidiary there for failing to disconnect millions of unregistered Sim cards.
In the six months to 30 June 2015, MTN reported headline earnings per share of R6.54, so the 2017 numbers represent a decline since then of between 65% and 68%.
The group, which will publish its interim results before markets open on 3 August, said it expects basic earnings per share of between R2.80 and R3, compared to R3.01 loss a year ago.
“The negative performance in the prior comparable period was mainly as a result of non-recurring costs, including the Nigeria regulatory fine of R4.74/share, which was fully expensed in prior periods, professional fees related to the fine of 73c/share and losses of R1.36/share from MTN’s 51% equity interest in Nigeria Tower InterCo, mainly as a result of unrealised losses on US dollar-denominated loans prior to the exercise of the exchange right where MTN exchanged its 51% shares of Nigeria Tower InterCo for an increased equity stake in IHS.”
MTN closed at R127.23/share on Wednesday. The counter has added 2% since the beginning of the year, but fallen by 12.7% over the past 12 months. It has a market capitalisation of R239.7bn, whereas nearest rival, Vodacom, is valued at R266.8bn. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media