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MTN Nigeria contribution to Group revenue falls by 52.8% as South Africa overtakes largest contributor  

MTN Group’s service revenue from South Africa surpassed that of Nigeria, traditionally its largest market by revenue. South Africa’s revenue increased modestly by 3%, reaching 10.4 billion rand in Q1 2024, up from 10.1 billion rand in Q1 2023.  

Conversely, MTN Nigeria Plc experienced a significant decline in revenue, plummeting by 52.8% to 10.2 billion rand in Q1 2024, down from 21.7 billion rand in Q1 2023. This information was disclosed in the MTN Group’s Q1 2024 unaudited financial statement obtained by NewsTimes.  

In local currency terms, MTN Nigeria recorded a revenue growth of 31.8% in Q1 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. However, when integrated into the overall group figures, Nigeria’s contribution showed a substantial 52.8% decrease.  

The Group’s service revenue for Q1 2024 dropped to 42.9 billion rand ($2.34 billion) from 52.8 billion rand in the same quarter the previous year.  

Optics 

This revenue shift significantly impacts Nigeria’s relevance within the MTN Group. Historically, Nigeria has been a key growth driver for MTN, contributing significantly to its overall revenue. The sharp decline in Nigeria’s revenue contribution could signal potential challenges for the market’s future impact on the group’s financial health.  

The depreciation of the naira and the resultant foreign exchange losses have heavily impacted MTN Nigeria, raising concerns about the stability and profitability of the business in this region. This shift could lead MTN to reassess its strategies and capital expenditure plans in Nigeria, potentially influencing its operations and growth plans.  

As MTN South Africa’s revenue outpaces Nigeria’s, it highlights a potential pivot in the group’s focus and resource allocation. Maintaining Nigeria’s market significance will require addressing the macroeconomic challenges and exploring avenues for sustained growth despite the prevailing economic conditions.  

Challenging of macro environment 

MTN Group attributed the challenging macroeconomic environment in Nigeria, particularly the devaluation of the naira against the dollar in Q1 2024, to substantial financial setbacks.  

MTN Nigeria (MTNN) reported a net foreign exchange loss of N656.3 billion in the first quarter of 2024, as the continued depreciation of the naira severely impacted the company’s balance sheet.  

Since 2023, MTN’s total foreign exchange loss has reached N1.396 trillion, marking the largest on record for any publicly listed company in Nigeria.  

This financial downturn was largely driven by the performance of MTN Nigeria, a key subsidiary of the MTN Group.  

MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita discussed the challenging macro environment faced in the first quarter of 2024, marked by persistent high inflation and local currency devaluations in key markets.  

Despite these challenges, Mupita noted a positive trend in the reduction of inflation across MTN’s footprint, with the blended rate decreasing to 13.7% in Q1 2024 from 18.5% in Q1 2023 and 15.4% in Q4 2023.  

“In Nigeria, we saw strong underlying commercial momentum despite the financial impacts of the sharp naira devaluation and continued elevated inflation,” Mupita stated.  

Global geopolitical tensions, including the civil war in Sudan, significantly affected MTN’s performance. The conflict in Sudan severely impacted network availability and revenue generation.

Additionally, cable cuts caused downtime for key subsea cables connecting the African continent, particularly affecting West Africa.  

Mupita reported an increase of 3.0 million subscribers, bringing the total to 287.6 million. However, growth was hindered by subscriber registration regulations in Ghana and Nigeria, and a decline in Sudan due to ongoing conflict. Active data subscribers rose by 7.8% to 149.2 million, driving traffic and data revenue growth.  

Outlook of Nigeria subsidiary 

Mupita emphasized MTN Nigeria’s focus on maintaining commercial momentum, accelerating service revenue growth, enhancing operational efficiencies, and strengthening the balance sheet to boost profitability.  

An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) was held on April 30, 2024, to address the negative net asset position reported in the audited financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2023.   

The Board approved several initiatives to safeguard the business fundamentals and future prospects, including:  

  • Pursuing regulated tariff increases through engagements with authorities  
  • Driving margin recovery through accelerated top-line growth and expense efficiency programs  
  • Optimizing capital expenditure (capex) with a target capex intensity in the upper single digits  
  • Reducing US dollar exposure by focusing on MTN Nigeria’s outstanding letters of credit obligations  
  • Exploring strategic options to manage tower lease obligations  

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