Data services fuel MTN sales growth in 2013
South Africa’s MTN Group, which has operations in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East, has reported a 12% increase in turnover for 2013 to ZAR136.49 billion (USD12.70 billion), driven by revenue from data services, which was up by around 41%, as well as the positive impact of foreign exchange rates. On a constant currency basis the increase in sales would have been a more muted 3.1%. While sales in its domestic market were down 6.1% year-on-year at ZAR39.71 billion, this was offset by positive results from other African units, including Nigeria where revenue was up 5.7% in constant currency terms, plus Uganda (up 17.8%), Ghana (13.0%), Cameroon (11.9%) and Sudan (34.5%). Group EBITDA increased by 13.0% (1.6% at constant currency) to ZAR58.82 billion, excluding the profit from the sale of mobile network towers in a number of markets.
In operational terms, the group ended 2013 with 207.8 million subscribers, up 9.8% year-on-year, despite the negative impact of user registration programmes in several countries which resulted in some customer losses. The domestic unit added 279,000 net new subscribers during the year to reach 25.7 million, while in Nigeria the subscriber total rose by 9.3 million to 56.8 million. The customer total in Ghana was up 10.2% at 12.9 million and in Cameroon the user base grew 19.2% to 8.7 million.