Africas biggest mobile operator MTN posts 9.1% growth in 2011 revenue.

By bne IntelliNews March 8, 2012
South Africa-based MTN Group, the largest mobile phone operator in Africa, said its revenue rose 9.7% last year to ZAR 121.88bn (EUR 12.1bn) as its subscriber base widened by 16.2% to 164.5 million users. The groups adjusted headline earnings per share (HEPS), which exclude certain one-off items and are the major gauge of profitability in South Africa, rose 43.2% y/y to 1,070 cents for 2011. MTN revised down its 2010 results by nearly 18% to account for the costs of a 2010 share scheme to increase ownership among black investors. The companys earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin increased by 3.4pps to 44.9%. MTN has operations in 21 countries, with most of its revenue coming from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Iran. The group said its improved performance was backed mainly by MTN Sudan, which added 2.5 million subscribers last year, and by MTN Cote dIvoire, which made a strong recovery in the second half of the year. MTN Uganda also performed well, boosting its subscriber base by 18% to 7.6 million users. Political unrest in the Middle East, however, remains a concern, MTN said. It has felt its impact on the business environments in Yemen and Syria. The groups business in Iran remains buoyant, but MTN continues to be sensitive to the international issues relating to Iran whilst retaining its firm commitment to its operations in the country. MTN owns 49% of Irancell, which accounts for about 10% of its revenue. MTN is facing a lawsuit in a U.S. court from rival Turkcell over its licence in Iran. The leading Turkish mobile operator has accused MTN of backing Tehran's nuclear programme and aiding its military when the firm was bidding for a telephone licence in Iran.

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