MTN Group expects 2019 profit rise of up to 50%

MTN Group says it anticipates its 2019 headline profits to rise as much as 50%.The South African telecom giant, which is due to report 2019 results on March 11, said headline earnings per share (HEPS) would likely be within a range of 438 cents to 506 cents on the IFRS 16 accounting basis adopted at the start of the year.

That compares to 337 cents in the previous year. On a like-for-like IAS 17 accounting basis, MTN expects to report growth in HEPS – a key profit measure in South Africa that strips out one-off items – of between 55% and 75%.

However, that is still slower than the 85% return the company reported in 2018. MTN Group attributed the slowdown mainly to items outside its regular business, including interest on the Nigerian fines, foreign exchange losses and hyperinflation adjustments.

MTN is arguably one of South Africa’s biggest corporate success stories, and the Nigerian market accounts for nearly a third of MTN’s core profit, but regulatory issues have posed some challenges for the firm in recent years.

Interestingly, in January, Nigeria’s attorney general said he had withdrawn a $2 billion tax demand against the group, bringing to a close its latest disagreement with the government.


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