Surge in data sales helps MTN Group beat first quarter projectionsMupita said Group data revenue grew by almost a third amid sustained demand for work-from-home services, digital entertainment as well as online education offerings.
An increase of data usage and greater demand for fintech services amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, have contributed to Johannesburg-based MTN Group reporting better than expected results between January and March.
Releasing details in mid-week, the multinational mobile network provider saw a strong and resilient operational and financial performance in the first quarter of 2021, with growth in service revenue exceeding medium-term guidance, driven by gains in data and fintech revenue.
MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita said, “The MTN Group has delivered a solid Q1 2021 trading performance, with service revenue and EBITDA margins expanding on the back of continued commercial momentum and resilient network.”
He said the Group’s Ambition 2025 strategy had also gained execution traction during challenging COVID-19 macroeconomic conditions in the quarter. Service revenue grew by 17.8% to R42.3 billion (about $2.9 billion) by the end of March 2021,
Meanwhile earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 21.3% and the EBITDA margin widened to 44.2% from 42.7%.
“The overall Group results were supported by double-digit service revenue growth from our large operations and continued focus on our expense efficiency programme. We are encouraged in particular by the strong performance of MTN South Africa, as well as accelerating data and fintech services across the group in the period,” he said.
MTN South Africa (MTN SA) recorded strong performances across the consumer, enterprise and wholesale businesses. Underpinned by market share gains and a subscriber base of 32.1 million, an 11.8% increase in service revenue and good cost containment drove a 3.2 percentage point expansion in MTN SA’s EBITDA margin to 39.8%. MTN Nigeria and MTN Ghana – both of which reported Q1 results in the past week – continued to build on their solid operational execution and commercial momentum.
Group data revenue grew by almost a third amid sustained demand for work-from-home services, digital entertainment as well as online education offerings. fintech revenue also accelerated, expanding by more than 31% as the value of fintech transactions increased by 87% to $53 billion.
Mupita said, “We are pleased with the momentum in driving our platform strategy and the fintech separation project is progressing well, in line with our Ambition 2025 strategy. MTN Rwanda recently received a licence to operate a separate fintech entity, bringing the number of structurally separated entities to 12 (out of 16 fintech markets). We continue to progress our work in establishing the Topco structure for fintech, and anticipate that this will be concluded before Q1 2022.”
The Group’s strong overall performance was despite a 1.7 million decrease in subscriber numbers to 277.9 million as MTN Nigeria’s subscribers declined because of restrictions on all new SIM sales and activations in that market. The Group’s active data subscribers increased by 1.3 million to 115.6 million and the number of MoMo customers increased by 0.2 million to 46.6 million. Excluding the impacts of MTN Nigeria, MTN Group total subscribers increased by 3.4 million.