MTN Group’s Q1 2024 service revenue dips 18.8% on Nigerian subsidiary challenges

Analysis: Nestle Nigeria clever move to reverse negative shareholder funds 

MTN Group, the largest telecommunications operator in Africa, has disclosed a notable decline in its first-quarter service revenue, registering a decrease of 18.8%.

This downturn was primarily influenced by the poor performance of MTN Nigeria (MTNN), a significant subsidiary within the MTN Group.

Headquartered in South Africa, MTN operates across 18 markets in Africa and boasts a substantial subscriber base of 288 million.

According to Reuters news, the reported group service revenue for the first quarter ending on March 31, 2024, dropped to 42.9 billion rand ($2.34 billion), compared to 52.8 billion rand in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Its service revenue from South Africa surpassed that of Nigeria, its biggest market by revenue, growing marginally by 3% to 10.4 billion rand, while Nigeria tumbled by 52.8% to 10.2 billion rand.

“The macro environment in the first quarter of 2024 remained challenging with ongoing high inflation as well as local currency devaluations in some of our key markets,” Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita said in a statement.

Overall reported group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell by 28.7% to 17.2 billion rand and rose by 3.9% in constant currency.

Reported EBITDA margin declined by 5.8 percentage points to 37.9% due to rising costs and currency depreciation, mainly in Nigeria.

More insights

MTN Nigeria released its Q1 2024 results, showing revenue of N752.9 billion, up 32.5% compared to N568.1 billion for the same period in 2023.

However, the company reported a pre-tax loss of N575.69 billion, a sharp reversal from the N162.9 billion profit reported a year earlier.

MTN’s swing into loss was primarily driven by exchange rate depreciation, incurring a staggering N656.3 billion in foreign exchange losses.

The company experienced growth in all of its revenue lines, including voice, data, fintech and digital revenue respectively.

  • Voice and data alone contributed N318.9 billion and N349.5 billion, representing 14.9% and 53.4% growth respectively.
  • MTN also reported weaker EBITDA with N296.9 billion, down 1.9% as EBITDA margins fell to 39.4% compared to 53.3% same period last year.

The company stated that the challenging operating environment, citing rising inflation and continuous depreciation of the naira.

MTNN reported a net foreign exchange loss of N656.3 billion in the first quarter of 2024 as a continuation of the naira’s depreciation ravaged the company’s balance sheet.

MTN’s foreign exchange loss since 2023 has now risen to a staggering N1.396 trillion, the largest on record for any publicly quoted company in the country.

MTN recorded the most forex losses in 2023 when it reported a forex loss of N740.4 billion based on information in its audited accounts.

The losses have now resulted in the company’s shareholder’s fund falling to a negative N437 billion, with accumulated losses now N599 billion.

 


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