MTN Group 1st Half Subscriber Numbers Fall 3.6%; Sees 2017 in Line

By Razak Musah Baba Features Dow Jones Newswires

MTN Group Ltd. (MTN.JO) Thursday recorded a fall in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, and lower subscriber numbers during the first half of the year, but said it is on track to meet its 2017 guidance.

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The South Africa-based mobile telecommunications company's reported operational Ebitda during the six months ended June 30, fell 28% to 21.18 billion South African rand ($1.58 billion) from ZAR29.27 billion a year earlier. On a constant currency basis, Ebitda was up 3.1%. MTN's operational group revenue also fell 18.5% to ZAR64.32 billion from ZAR78.88 billion during the first half of 2016 but on a constant currency basis, group revenue was up 6.7%, the company said.

Subscriber numbers during the first half of 2017 decreased 3.6% to 231.8 million impacted by a decline in subscriber numbers in MTN Nigeria and MTN Ghana. This was largely a result of the group's initiative to modernize subscriber definitions to reflect the business's changing mix of revenue streams, it said.

"Macro-economic conditions remain challenging across a number of our markets, with Nigeria continuing to experience a weaker naira as well as hard currency liquidity challenges," the telecoms company said.

Although South Africa entered a technical recession in the first quarter, the rand strengthened considerably against the U.S. dollar during the period, while many of the currencies in other markets weakened, MTN said, adding that despite these macro-challenges, the group continues to deliver on its operational targets.

MTN said it is on track to meet its 2017 financial guidance.

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-Write to Razak Musah Baba at razak.baba@wsj.com; Twitter: @Raztweet

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 03, 2017 02:05 ET (06:05 GMT)