By Our Reporter
MTN Group has reported a very strong set of operational and financial results for 2020, demonstrating business resilience under COVID-19 pressures and a challenging macroeconomic environment.
The Group added 29 million subscribers in the year, to reach a total of 280 million across 21 markets. It reported a 52% increase in adjusted headline earnings per share, a four-percentage point increase in return on equity to 17% and more than doubled the operating cash flow to R28,3 billion.
“We continued to perform favorably against our medium-term targets,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita. “In constant currency terms, service revenue grew 11,9% to R170 billion and EBITDA increased by 13,4%, maintaining our strong operating leverage. The Group’s EBITDA margin improved by 0,9pp to 42,7%, benefiting from the execution of our expense efficiency programme.”
In Uganda, MTN posted very strong and resilient performance in Q4 of 2020 despite the COVID-19 disruptions. The subscriber base increased by 12.3% to 14.2 million subscribers, up from 12.6 million the previous year.
Active data users were up by 34.8% to 4.6 million, which drove an increase in traffic also brought about by higher levels of online demand resulting from the effects of COVID-19. This was supported by learn-from-home and work-from-home offerings provided for our customers.
In pursuit of our financial inclusion objectives and growth strategy, Mobile Money (MoMo) users grew by 14.4% YOY to 8.5 million, spurred by the move towards cashless financial transactions to avert the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of mobile financial services, growth in fintech revenue was moderated by reductions in transaction fees to support customers, lockdown restrictions on agents and a slowdown in economic activity.
Absolute EBITDA in constant currency terms increased by 14.9% YoY in 2020, with a 2,4pp increase in EBITDA margin to 49.5%. This was driven by a well-executed sustainable cost efficiency program.
Meanwhile, the mobile operator has also announced its re-positioned strategy – Ambition 2025 – to accelerate growth and reveal the value of its infrastructure assets and platforms.