MTN Group’s First Half Earning Surged 46.5 Percent, Receives $35 Million Buyout Offer For Its Afghanistan Business

On Thursday, telecom giant MTN Group announced that its first-half earnings grew 46.5 percent. The company also revealed that it had received a $35 million buyout offer for its Afghanistan business, signaling an imminent exit from the Middle East.

The company failed to disclose the buyer but while on a call with journalists, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita said that the gross of $35 million would be paid over a period of time that he did not also specify and that proceeds would be $31 million.

According to him, the completion of the deal would kick off the company’s exit from the Middle Eastern markets where it is currently operational. The announcement follows the sale of MTN Yemen and the abandonment of its Syrian operation last year. The company’s 49 percent financial investment in Irancell will continue to be managed under the company’s portfolio.

The decision to exit from the Middle East was first announced by the company in 2020. The company said it wanted to focus on its core African operations adding that the plan was part of its effort to simplify its structure and reduce the exposure to markets characterized by risks. The company is currently operational in 19 markets.

The company reported earnings per share of 567 cents in the first quarter of 2022 ended June 30th. This figure is up from the 387 cents recorded in the first half of 2021. MTN Group’s service revenue grew 14.8 percent to $5.71 billion thanks to an increased demand for data services. MTN South Africa had a service revenue growth of 4.1 percent, while its Nigerian and Ghanaian counterparts recorded growth of 19.9 percent and 29.3 percent respectively.

Data revenue was up 35.9 percent and was supported by a 14.2 percent YoY growth in active data subscribers and a 25.5 percent increase in data usage. Voice revenue which is the company’s biggest generator of revenue saw a growth of only 1.9 percent. This is mostly because people have begun to substitute voice calls with data calls.

The company’s fintech revenue grew 14 percent and was impacted by a deliberate decision to cut peer-to-peer pricing as well as the introduction of new fintech taxes and levies in some markets, including Ghana.

The company says it has lowered its prices as it is looking to reduce the burden customers face and this also had an impact on transaction value.

The company remains one of Africa’s biggest telecommunications operators.

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