MTN Group Limited said yesterday that it expects its Headline earnings for the year ended December 2019 to increase by 50%. The optimistic forecast is coming, despite some of the issues the telecommunications company had experienced in some of its major markets, including Nigeria.
However, the projected 50% revenue growth is still less than what was recorded in full-year 2018. This is the direct effect of the regulatory fines the company had to pay to the Nigerian government last year.
Reuters also reported that the company has projected its headline earnings per share for the period to be within the range of 438 to 506 cents. The result is expected to be released in March.
Note that MTN Group Limited is the parent company of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, which is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange last year. The listing is part of a settlement agreement between the company and Nigerian regulators over an infraction committed by the company in 2015 when it failed to deactivate up to five million unregistered SIM cards.
The company was also fined the sum of N1.04 trillion over this infraction, although it ended up paying just N330 million.
More regulatory troubles trailed MTN Nigeria, especially in 2018 when it was accused by the Central Bank of Nigeria of illegally repatriating $8.1 billion to South Africa. The Office of Nigeria’s Attorney General also demanded that the company should pay back the sum of $2 billion, which it was accused of owing in back taxes.
MTN denied both allegations and even dragged the Attorney General’s Office to court over the tax issue. However, the company ended up agreeing to pay the sum of $53 million to resolve the issue with the Central Bank of Nigeria. As for the $2 billion tax demand, it was dismissed last month after the tax demand was withdrawn.
In the meantime, Nigeria continues to be the major market for MTN Group Ltd, accounting for about a third of its annual profits.
MTN Nigeria’s share price opened trading on the NSE today at N115 and is currently trading at N120.