MTN Expects 1st Half Earnings Up As Much As 14.5%

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

MTN Group, Africa's largest mobile phone network operator, last Wednesday said its earnings rose as much as 14.5% in the first half of the year. The company said attributable earnings for the six months increased by between 9.5% and 14.5% on the 298.6 South African cents ($0.385) a share reported a year ago.

MTN has steadily been growing its subscriber base in recent years, recording about 68.21 million customers at the end of March against 61.35 million at the end of last December and 48.2 million in June 2007. It operates in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

It said it expected headline earnings per share -the figure generally followed by South African analysts and which strips out capital, non-operating and certain other items - for the half year rose by 9% to 14% from 304.2 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS adjusted for the unwinding of a deferred tax asset raised in Nigeria and a put option a shareholder has on Nigeria rose by between 23.3% and 28.3% from 324.7 cents, MTN said.

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