MTN Nigeria Communications, Airtel Nigeria release impressive figures despite COVID-19

24619737710 c2c3eeef0f cDespite a challenging operating environment in the second quarter of 2020 characterised by the COVID-19 lockdown and the broader macroeconomic impact it has had, MTN Nigeria Communications has maintained double-digit revenue growth of 12.6 per cent for H1 driven by strong growth in its key revenue lines

Fred Moolman, CEO MTN Nigeria, said, “Revenue rose by 57.6 per cent supported by an increase in data users and traffic revenue from digital and fintech services rose by 121.8 per cent and 26.6 per cent respectively while voice revenue growth was 2.8 per cent amidst a change in traffic following the lockdowns. However, costs also increased, leading to an overall decline in profit before tax and earnings per share.”

The half-yearly report just released in Lagos, Nigeria showed that mobile subscribers increased by 6.8 per cent to 71.1 per cent, active days users increased by 3.8mn to 29mn, service revenue increased by 12.6 per cent to N637.0bn, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, EBITA grew by 8.2 per cent to 327.1bn naira.

However profit before tax declined by two per cent to 139.6bn, earnings per share, EPS declined by 4.7 per cent to 4.66 Kobo, and interim dividend per share to 3.50 Kobo

Airtel which also released its quarter result ending on 30 June, said the slowdown in revenue growth during the quarter was driven by the restriction on movements imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which impacted customer usage particularly but still said the result was still satisfactory.

“Revenue in constant currency increased by 17.1 per cent with reported revenue growth of 8.9 per cent as a result of Nigerian naira devaluation.”

Voice revenue increased by 6.9 per cent to US$197mn, a 13.5 per cent increase in the customer base but with. 4.6 per cent drop in ARFU – “The ARPU decline was as a result of a change in customer usage mix due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The customer base growth of 13.5 per cent was driven by the expansion of our distribution network supported by the accelerated rollout of our network infrastructure.”

Data revenue also did well- a growth of 40 per cent, 18.5 per cent in data customers and data ARPU growth of 20.7 per cent.

Underlying EBITA grew by 17.1 per cent with currency growth of 9 .0 per cent and underlying EBITDA margin being flat at 5.3 per cent, mainly as a result of the higher provision for enterprise customer base debts due to lower collection on Account of the slowdown in the economy due to COVID -19.

Capital expenditure amounted to US$30mn as a result of lockdown in April and May 2020. Operating free cash flow was 152m, up by 48.2 per cent largely as a result of double-digit underlying EBITDA growth and lower capital expenditure.

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