MTN Nigeria Rakes in N70bn Profit

Telecoms

Telecom giant MTN recorded an operational profit of N78 billion in the financial year ended December 31, 2007, its Chief Executive Officer Mr. Ahmad Farroukh said.

“MTN paid N60 billion in taxes in 2007, while it has so far paid taxes in excess of N211 billion to government at different levels since it began operations in Nigeria in 2001.”

He also said MTN had 16.5 million active subscribers as at December 2007. During the period under review, MTN had 3,422 base stations and 58 mobile switching centres across the country, he added. The company, said Mr. Farroukh, plans to install over 1,000 base stations and 20 switches in the course of 2008. It has a 61 million subscribers base around the world, he also said.

A statement released by MTN also said a significant part of the levies paid was the $150 million paid for the 3G license. Mr. Farroukh reiterated the company's unwavering commitment to connecting people and making telecommunication services accessible to Nigerians, regardless of where they live.

Farroukh, who spoke in Lagos as the MTN Group announced its 2007 trading results, added: "The combination of a strategic dedication to meeting the needs of the country for cutting edge telecommunications services and our commitment to ethical business practice, has seen consistent performance by MTN Nigeria and a really positive impact on millions of people and the country at large."

The effect of this performance, he said, is two fold: "On one hand, it encourages our shareholders and investors to continue to invest in MTN Nigeria and provide the business with the financial resources to spread services to more Nigerian locations and increase our capacity to service our customers."

He said MTN Nigeria's Private Placement which started in 2007, raised USD 1Billion, and was the largest Private Placement ever undertaken in the Nigerian market. Secondly, he said, "it demonstrates the potential inherent in Nigeria to the international investor community. I dare say that MTN's success story is a reference point for Nigeria's vibrant potential and suitability for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)."

It will be recalled that in 2007, MTN Nigeria raised a USD 2billion loan, arranged by IBTC Standard Bank. "It is on record that the loan is the largest local financing arrangement ever raised by any Telecoms operator in sub-Saharan Africa."

He added that this is in addition to the commencement of the next phase of the fibre optic superhighway, which was originally launched in 2006. So far more than 3,800km, has been built, with further expansion covering 1,393km planned for 2008.

Commenting on the fibre optics project which is the largest private transmission backbone in Africa, Mr. Farroukh said, "The transmission network traverses more than 10,000 different towns, cities and communities. We will build Metropolitan Fibre Rings around important commercial cities. To date, we have completed Lagos, while Abuja, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Kano, Aba and Warri are nearing completion. "

These city-wide fibre optic rings, said Mr. Farroukh, will help provide for anticipated increases in voice and data traffic in these cities in due course and improve quality. In addition to the country-wide transmission rings being erected and fortified, MTN is redoubling its efforts at increasing base stations across the country.

"Our overwhelming objective", said Farroukh "is to ensure that despite surging demand and the infrastructural constraints, we continue to provide consistently improving telephony services to meet the expectation of our customers."

In the same vein, Mr. Farroukh said MTN had demonstrated its willingness to partner with the Nigerian Government and to play its part in driving socio-economic development in Nigeria. "We are proud to have redefined the concept of corporate social responsibility in Nigeria and to partner with Government in the development of this great country." For MTN, he said, "CSR is key to our business strategy to 'give back' to the communities that we operate in. In building their capacity, we create a viable economy."

Daily Trust