MTN Community finally returns $280m in 2020 dividend from Nigeria


South Africa’s MTN Community has repatriated its final year’s dividend of spherical $280 million (R4.2 billion) from its native unit in Nigeria. The company reported the payout on Monday proper thru the liberate of preliminary monetary results for the six months to June 30, 2021.

The funds from Nigeria are section of roughly $650 million (R9.3 billion) in money the pan-African telecoms broad returned from its subsidiaries. 

The Johannesburg-based mostly neighborhood had been struggling to web dividends out of its subsidiaries due to the challenges of securing foreign currencies in Nigeria and a few diversified markets where it operates.

As a result, MTN became compelled to suspend dividend payout for the 2020 monetary year. The company moreover cited diversified causes for the suspension, similar to the timing of proceeds from an ongoing asset realisation programme (ARP) and the affect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Announced in March 2019, the ARP seeks to simplify the neighborhood’s portfolio, lower debt and toughen returns. Over a three-year interval, the programme is anticipated to herald proceeds of finally R15 billion ($1 billion).

“Cash upstreaming from Nigeria remained tantalizing in the case of securing foreign currencies available in the market. All the absolute top scheme thru 2020, we upstreamed the identical of roughly R286 million from Nigeria, with roughly R4.2 billion but to be repatriated as of 31 December 2020,” the corporate acknowledged aid in March.

The neighborhood has now fully secured its money dividend from Nigeria, in what’s one of many two obvious traits concerning MTN that would possibly reach as a reduction to shareholders.

Respite in U.S. court docket case

As well to the files from Nigeria, MTN moreover printed “obvious traits” in a United States court docket case linked to the neighborhood and its subsidiaries, MTN Afghanistan and MTN Dubai.

In step with the corporate, the Justice of the Peace assessing complaints of alleged violations of U.S. anti-terrorism laws had suggested the dismissal of the case.

The Community had argued that the court docket has no jurisdiction over the corporate given it would now not operate in the U.S. It moreover claims the criticism “would now not command any conduct by MTN defendants that violated the Anti-Terrorism Act.”

After the files of repatriating money from Nigeria and development in the U.S. court docket case, MTN shares reportedly accomplished 6% higher on Monday at R111.30 (spherical $7). 

The neighborhood’s entire half of-year results are anticipated to be released on August 12 and it has told investors to set a question to between 75% to 85% fall in income or earnings per portion (EPS). Right here’s due to an impairment fee fascinating its Yemeni industry and the decoupling of its operation in Syria.

The sale of MTN Community’s 75% stake in MTN Syria is section of ongoing makes an attempt to exit markets in the Center East over the next three to 5 years, with a thought to fully level of interest on core African markets.

MTN plans to raise about R15 billion ($1 billion) from shareholding gross sales in markets outside Africa, proceeds which is able to be feeble to lower its broad debt of practically R50 billion ($3.5 billion) for the year to December 2020 as smartly as allocate more capital investments in Africa by 2025. 

In Nigeria, MTN, thru its native unit, has earmarked ₦600 billion ($1.5 billion) over the next three years to elongate broadband web entry to in Africa’s most populous economic system.

Cell subscribers decline in Nigeria

For MTN Nigeria, half of-year 2021 results repeat that service income increased by 24.1% year-on-year, despite the different of its cell subscribers declining by 7.6 million (practically 10%).

In December 2020, Nigerian authorities ordered telecom companies to suspend the sale of SIM cards (except April this year). The directive became section of efforts to envision the identities of all cell subscribers, who were requested to hyperlink their mobile phone numbers with national identification numbers. 

“Operationally, our cell subscribers closed H1 at 68.9 million, down 9.9% from December 2020. This became due to the regulatory restrictions on recent SIM gross sales and activations, which became lifted on 19 April 2021,” MTN Nigeria’s CEO, Karl Toriola, acknowledged on an analyst name.

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While client numbers fell, MTN Nigeria company managed to amplify service income to ₦790.3 billion (about R27 billion, $1.9 billion) pushed by a surge in knowledge usage.

Earnings earlier than interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 27.6% to ₦417.2 billion ($1 billion) whereas transaction volume for cell money increased by 280.8% year-on-year to 55.6 million. Its entire MoMo active subscribers reached 6.1 million.

MTN Nigeria goals to maintain “double-digit service income bid ahead of inflation, driving 4G and rural network growth,” Toriola acknowledged.

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