MTN Posts First-Half Profit Despite Nigeria’s Recession



Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator, MTN, has posted a first-half profit today, marking a move away from a turbulent 2016 that highlighted the risks of the company’s emerging markets strategy and recession in its biggest market, Nigeria.

The results were bolstered by the absence of charges related to a $1.1 billion fine imposed by Nigerian authorities last year in a long-running dispute over unregistered SIM cards.

According to the Chief Executive of the mobile operator, Rob Shuter, the profit is a welcome development. “These numbers give us hope for the future. It’s a very encouraging platform upon which to build our strategy,” he said.

MTN’s clashes with regulators in the past few years had held back growth and threatened to tarnish its image as one of post-apartheid South Africa’s biggest commercial successes.

The network which operates in more than 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East, said headline earnings came in at $294.40 million, or 212 cents per share, in the six months to end June compared with a loss of 271 cents per share, a year earlier.

Its shares were nearly 3% higher by 0726 GMT.

MTN had said last week it expected to return to profit in the first half of its financial year and that the loss in the first half of last year was mainly due to “non-recurring costs”, including the Nigeria fine.


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