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MTN moves into the red

MTN expects to post a basic headline loss for its first half of 2016 financial year, the mobile phone operator informed investors on Thursday. By Gugu Lourie

The operator said it will report a basic headline loss per share of between R2.55 and R2.85 for the first half to end-June. Headline earnings per share is South Africa’s main profit gauge.

The company’s headline earnings per share was R6.54 in the same period in 2015.

Africa and Middle East biggest mobile phone operator attributes its loss mainly to the Nigerian regulatory fine, which had a net negative effect of R4.74 per share on the earnings.

Also, MTN Nigeria’s performance was impacted by the disconnection of 4.5 million subscribers in February 2015.

Contributing as well was also the depreciation of the rand and operating currencies and MTN said earnings were negatively impacted by foreign exchange losses of R1.35 per share.

Furthermore, earnings were hit hard by hyperinflation adjustments in respect of MTN Irancell.

The company also attributed the losses to impairment on property, plant and equipment in South Sudan, as well as goodwill impairments in Guinea Conakry and Afrihost. Also increased short-term losses from its digital business, Africa and Middle East Internet Holdings.

The group financials were also impacted by the relatively weaker operational performance of MTN South Africa. The company said it expect MTN South Africa to report a decline in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation).

The company will publish its interim results on Friday.

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