MTN Uganda CEO update

MTN confirms that the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has exercised executive discretion to permit MTN CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte’s unconditional return to Uganda.

MTN wishes to express its gratitude to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda and all stakeholders for their support and goodwill for making this possible.

MTN Uganda is a law-abiding corporate citizen and is committed to continue to play its part in the development of Uganda.

MTN named most admired African brand

MTN is thrilled to announce that it has been named the most admired brand by Brand Africa 100, based on spontaneous consumer responses.

The seventh annual Brand Africa 100 report was released on 24 May 2019, featuring the top 100 most admired brands in Africa.

Ranked number eight in the top 100 most admired brands in Africa, MTN is the only African brand in the top 10, as well as the most admired telecommunications brand on the continent. Furthermore, within the financial services category, MTN Mobile Money is in the Top 20 at number 19, up one position from 2018. MTN is also the overall number one brand in Rwanda and Liberia, and the number one Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed brand in the Brand Africa 100 rankings.

Brand Africa 100 is a pan-African survey and ranking of Africa’s Best Brands developed by Brand Leadership. The rankings are based on a comprehensive survey by Geopoll, a global leader in providing high quality market research in emerging markets, and strategic analysis and weighted consumer admiration ranking by Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company and Brand Leadership, Africa’s leading branding and integrated marketing communications advisory.

The 2018/19 study surveyed consumers from 25 countries in Africa (12 of which are MTN markets). Together these countries represent 85% of Africa’s population and 85% of GDP.

Commenting on the accolade, Bernice Samuels, MTN Group Executive for Marketing said, “This is such an honour for MTN and I wish to thank our customers on the continent for their support over the years, which has seen us being ranked as the most admired African Brand yet again.”

Samuels adds, “With Africa being a young continent, young Africans want to experience a modern, digital, connected life. We are doing everything we can to make this a reality by leading the delivery of a bold new digital world in ways that are relevant to our customers.”

“MTN is committed to brightening lives every day by being a responsive, customer and community focused company.  Through the MTN Foundations we work together with communities to create opportunities to advance growth and development by supporting health and education initiatives and national development priorities. We are also working hard to deliver the best customer experience in voice, data, digital and financial services so that consumers across our footprint continue to choose us as their most admired and preferred brand.”

MTN’s Bernice Samuels Interviewed by African Business

Telecoms companies have dominated the marketing landscape these past 15 years. We spoke to Bernice Samuels, chief marketing officer at MTN, about the group’s strategy when it comes to branding and marketing and where it fits within the company.

Where does branding fit in from a strategic standpoint?

As MTN we believe that a brand is as a brand does, so our branding is strategically significant, not just to drive awareness, recognition and recall but also in defining our customers experiences. So our brand positioning of BRIGHTER LIVES informs everything we design, build and deliver.

How important would you say branding is to the African consumer?

African consumers are no different from other consumers in their aspirations and expectations of brands. We are all human, and want things to be easy, personal, and give us some control delivering good quality, value, affordability, innovation and access. This being said, MTN is a brand born in Africa, and we want to reflect our African origins in how we go to market.

How important is being an African brand?

With Africa being a young continent, young Africans want to live a modern, connected life. We want to be second to none in shaping and making this possible. We want to lead a modern digital life experience in ways that are relevant to the African context. In enabling this, we believe that we will be the consumers’ choice, not only because we are an African brand, but also the very best at what we do in Africa.

You are at the forefront of technology and the new digital space. What are the main tools needed to build a brand; have they changed materially since you launched all those years ago?

Yes and no. We believe that the discipline of marketing is always about putting the customer at the centre of what you do. So it’s vital to diagnose the market, understand needs and meet these in a distinctive and differentiated way versus competitors. The channels at our disposal are indeed changing, with social media storefronts, instant messaging, mobile responsive web etc, which expand our route to market for our product and services and thus the design approach in constructing our marketing messages.

You operate in over 20 countries. Do you adapt the messaging to the different markets or is there one singular message that you like to put out there?

We have the same brand positioning as a mother brand in every market in which we operate. What differs are the operational and marketing tactics on the ground which must be locally relevant and resonate with consumers.

MTN Group appoints Lele Modise as Group Chief Legal Counsel

Johannesburg – MTN Group announced today that it has appointed Kelebogile (Lele) Modise as its new Group Chief Legal Counsel. Lele will report to Group President and CEO Rob Shuter and will join MTN Group’s Executive Committee.

Lele joins MTN from Absa, where she was Head of the Transaction Management Group (TMG), responsible for the delivery of end-to-end deal execution services, consisting of legal structuring and solutioning, deal administration, deal co-ordination and post-deal management services.

Lele began her career at Bell Dewar & Hall (now Fasken Martineau) and was admitted to the High Court as an attorney in 2003. She went on to be a partner at Bowman Gilfillan, specialising in Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions.

She is skilled in the areas of capital markets and securities law, banking and finance, corporate and commercial law, mergers and acquisitions and private equity. Lele has also worked extensively across Africa.

Lele holds a Masters in Banking Law from UNISA, a B.Proc (LLB Exemption) from the University of Pretoria and certificates in Securities Law as well as Banking Law and Financial Markets.

She will be replacing MTN Group Chief Legal Counsel, Michael Fleischer, who will be retiring from MTN at the end of July 2019.  Lele’s start date will be announced in due course.

Michael has been part of the MTN family since 2014 and is a respected member of the Group Executive team, having provided invaluable guidance and insights as the company navigated some of its most challenging times as a business.

Rob Shuter said, “We are so pleased to welcome Lele on board. We feel fortunate as a company to have someone with her calibre and experience joining our leadership team. We have no doubt that she will be an asset to our organisation.”

“What stood out to us about Lele was her extensive insight and expertise in navigating Pan-African and cross border strategic investments and transactions. Her passion for the continent and its development is evident through the strategic work that she has done throughout her career. As a leading emerging market operator, we believe that this passion will go a long way in helping us to achieve our strategy and positioning within the markets in which we operate.”

Shuter added “We wish to thank Michael for the skill and commitment he has shown in heading up the Group Legal team over the past five years. Michael has been a huge support to MTN over that period and to me personally and we wish him the very best as he embarks on this new chapter in his life.”

Ralph Mupita named CFO of the Year 2019

Ralph Mupita, chief financial officer of mobile telecommunications company MTN, has been named South Africa’s CFO of the Year at the 2019 CFO Awards.

This was announced on Wednesday May 2019 at the end of the annual gala event for finance executives, held at a spectacular custom-built venue at the Dimension Data campus in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ralph was the big winner during the “Oscars for finance executives”, which celebrated its sixth edition this year. He scooped up four of the ten prizes, also winning the Strategy Execution Award, the High-Performance Team Award, and the Finance Transformation Award.

The other big winner of the evening was Capitec CFO André du Plessis, won the Compliance & Governance Award and the Finance & Technology Award.

City of Tshwane CFO Umar Banda was crowned Young CFO of the Year, his first prize in three successive years of nominations. IDC CFO Nonkululeko Dlamini was named the 2019 Public Sector of the Year. The remaining awards were won by AfroCentric’s Group CFO Hannes Boonzaaier (Transformation & Empowerment Award) and Standard Bank Group FD Arno Daehnke (Moving into Africa Award).

The awards were handed out at a glittering ceremony at the Dimension Data Campus, attended by 350 of South Africa’s top CFOs. Attendees were entertained by astrophotographer Cory Schmitz, who illustrated humanity’s humble beginnings in the cosmos, and MC comedian Nik Rabinowitz, who delivered side-splitting industry humour. The sumptuous, sustainably sourced dinner was prepared by celebrity chef Franz de Waal, who has cooked for the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Cyril Ramaphosa – and the previous CFO Awards winners.

Full list of CFO Awards 2019 winners:

  • CFO of the Year – Ralph Mupita (MTN)
  • Young CFO of the Year – Umar Banda (City of Tshwane)
  • Public Sector CFO of the Year – Nonkululeko Dlamini (IDC)
  • Strategy Execution Award – Ralph Mupita (MTN)
  • Transformation & Empowerment Award – Hannes Boonzaaier (AfroCentric)
  • High Performance Team Award – Ralph Mupita (MTN)
  • Compliance & Governance Award – André du Plessis (Capitec)
  • Finance Transformation Award – Ralph Mupita (MTN)
  • Moving into Africa Award – Arno Daehnke (Standard Bank)
  • Finance & Technology Award – André du Plessis (Capitec)

The annual CFO Awards are organised by CFO South Africa, the organisation that connects finance professionals through executive events, the quarterly CFO Magazine, and social media channels. By helping CFOs share knowledge, exchange interests and open up business opportunities, CFO South Africa proudly contributes to the growth of the country.

Services firm Deloitte was the principal sponsor of the 2019 CFO Awards, while other awards sponsors included Standard Bank, Oracle, PwC, Workday, RMB, SNG Grant Thornton and Momentum Corporate.

The CFO Awards were also supported by Associate sponsors BlackLine, Clarkhouse Human Capital, and Transparent – and table sponsors Drayton, Glendower & Mokhobo, KPMG, Kumba Iron Ore, MTN, and Phembani Group.

The CFO of the Year Award was handed out by Deloitte Africa deputy CEO Sihlalo Jordan and was accepted on behalf of Ralph Mupita by MTN board member Sugen Perumal, the executive for Group Finance Operations at MTN. Ralph himself was unable to attend the event as he was in Lagos for MTN’s listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange the next morning. In a message recorded in advance in case he won an award, he thanked his finance team and his colleagues at MTN.

Ralph has been integrally involved in the development and execution of MTN’s new strategy and he has been driving a revised capital allocation strategy focused on improving profitability and returns, as well as de-gearing of the holding company to strengthen the balance sheet. He’s also had to confront pre-existing challenges and was part of the team that had to resolve the Nigeria CBN $8 billion historical dividends matter late last year, culminating in this week’s listing. His leadership approach is framed by inspiring colleagues to deliver their very best, achieving team-based success and remaining humble and grounded in all situations.

Article by CFO South Africa

MTN Nigeria receives approval to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (“MTN Nigeria”) is pleased to announce that it has received approval to list on the Premium Board of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”). The listing is set to proceed on 16 May 2019 and will be done by way of an introductory listing. The listing by introduction means that the shares of existing MTN Nigeria shareholders will be listed without an additional public sale of shares. From this point, all MTN Nigeria shareholders will be free to trade their shares on the NSE.

Commenting on the announcement, Ferdi Moolman, CEO of MTN Nigeria said “It gives me great pleasure to confirm that the official listing via introduction of MTN’s shares on the NSE will take place on Thursday May 16.”

We appreciate the continued support afforded us by the government, regulators and people of this great nation. In particular, I would like to thank the staff and management of MTN Nigeria who worked tirelessly to make this day possible. This is just the beginning, we still intend to pursue a future Public Offer giving more Nigerians greater access to the MTN opportunity.”

MTN Group CFO, Ralph Mupita said ” As MTN Group we are very pleased that we are taking this first and important step towards increasing the local ownership of the company, and building the equity capital markets in Nigeria”

[MTN Nigeria recently announced its earnings for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 recording 13.4% growth in service revenue. This was driven by a 12.7% and 32.4% rise in voice and data revenue respectively and the addition of 2.1 million active mobile subscribers to the network. The company announced Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) of N150.4 billion and expanded EBITDA margins to 53.3% (44.2%, on an IAS 17 basis) due to growth in revenue and effective cost management.]

– Issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs

MTN Group clarifies role of International Advisory Board

Pursuant to the MTN Group announcement of Friday 3 May 2019 with respect to the evolution of the MTN Group Board and the establishment of an International Advisory Board (IAB) of eminent persons, MTN seeks to provide clarity on the role of the IAB.

The construct of an IAB is one that is adopted by a number of global multinationals that operate in varied and multiple jurisdictions across the world. While this is not prevalent in South African domiciled companies, such Boards advise a number of global companies quoted on major global bourses.

The IAB is a non-statutory entity comprised of selected members. It neither undertakes fiduciary duties nor does it assume any accountability for the publicly quoted entity. IAB will not opine on any matters that have to do with the operations of the business.

The advice given by members of the IAB is not sectarian or partisan in nature nor is their contribution to society exclusive to the companies they advise, notwithstanding their commitment to meet on a regular basis and provide counsel when it is sought.

The primary purpose of the IAB is to provide general global and/or sector specific perspectives that may enrich the perspectives of the operating company’s Board as it strives to contribute to certain areas of development in the countries in which it operates.

The IAB members are typically comprised of eminent persons, such as former Heads of State and Government, and former or practicing heads of large global or regional institutions. In the case of the MTN Group, the IAB will congregate in a non-statutory meeting twice a year to share its perspectives on geopolitical matters which impact on Africa’s and the Middle East’s continued overall development. This would include such development as relates to telecommunications, internet penetration and connectivity – all which constitute a vital platform for Africa and the Middle East to digitise and participate in the fourth industrial revolution.

The MTN Group is very concerned that in all the countries and regions in which it does business, it must be a responsible and exemplary corporate citizen. Accordingly, it strives to be empowered to understand and discharge its social responsibility obligations in a manner that is consonant with the deeply held aspirations of its customer countries and regions.

In this context, the MTN Group is of the view that its operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East, constituting an aggregate population of over 600 million people and in excess of 235 million subscribers, will be well served by an IAB which will sensitise the Group to the dynamics and matters which bear on the development perspectives of these countries and regions.

The MTN Group is honoured that the former President of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, will Chair an IAB of esteemed members which, twice a year, will provide the MTN Group Board with what the Group is convinced will be important perspectives which will help the Group to achieve its firm desire to be the kind of exemplary corporate citizen to which we have referred.

– Issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs

MTN continued to deliver solid operational progress during Q1 2019

MTN Group has released its first quarter update for the period ended 31 March 2019, meeting its medium-term revenue growth target by delivering 10% year-on-year growth led by strong operational performance in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana.

Commenting on the update, MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter said: “We are encouraged by the operational progress we continue to see across the business, supported by the network roll-out we achieved and enhancements to the propositions that we offer to our customers. In South Africa, we implemented changed pricing for pre-paid propositions where we reduced, materially the out-of-bundle tariffs, making data services much more affordable.”

Shuter added that the company takes note of the provisional report from the Competition Commission of Inquiry into data services and will respond by 14 June 2019. MTN remains of the view that the release of high demand spectrum in South Africa is critical to providing affordable and ubiquitous data services for the citizens of the country.

As part of broadening the fintech business, MTN also launched Africa’s first instant messaging platform ‘Ayoba’ in Ivory Coast and Cameroon with further expansion into other markets and the integration of payments planned in the second half of the year.

Commenting on the regional performance, Group CFO Ralph Mupita said: “We are pleased by the service revenue development, despite challenges in some markets. The growth in service revenue was supported by the continued expansion in voice, data and fintech revenue which increased 5,9%, 18,3% and 30,6% respectively. Our asset realisation programme remains on track, and we anticipate that the Mascom transaction will close by end of June 2019, subject to regulatory approvals. Good progress has also been made on repayment of the ATC Ghana shareholder loan to MTN Group.”

Early in the second quarter, MTN’s e-commerce joint venture Jumia Technologies AG successfully raised fresh capital to list on the New York Stock Exchange. MTN’s shareholding reduced to 18.9% in the IPO, and as at 6 May 2019, the value of its shareholding in Jumia was approximately $560m. The company completed the conversion of MTN Nigeria to a public company ahead of the listing by introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange anticipated for May 2019.

AGF matter

On Tuesday, 07 May the Federal High Court delivered its ruling, rejecting the Notice of Preliminary Objection filed by the AGF in response to MTN Nigeria’s lawsuit. The substantive case is now scheduled to be heard on June 26.

Looking ahead, the company remains committed to achieving its medium-term targets through delivering against all elements of its BRIGHT strategy.

MTN Group announces changes to the Board and establishment of International Advisory Board

MTN Group today announced significant changes to the Group Board and the establishment of an International Advisory Board (IAB). The MTN Group Board is of the view that MTN has entered a more stable and settled period which enables it to now effect an evolution of the Board following recent challenging regulatory environments and competitive trading conditions.

MTN Group wishes to announce the following changes to the Board over the next 12 months:

  1. The Chairman of MTN Group, Phuthuma Nhleko, who was anticipated to step down from his position at the AGM to be held on 23 May 2019, will step down from the Board on 15 December 2019 after overseeing an orderly transition of the Board including the establishment of the International Advisory Board.
  2. Mcebisi Jonas has been appointed Chairman-designate and will assume the position of Chairman of MTN Group effective 15 December 2019.
  3. Dr. Khotso Mokhele will assume the responsibilities of Lead Independent Director with effect from 15 December 2019.
  4. Further, Alan Harper, Jeff Van Rooyen and Koosum Kaylan will step down from the Board on 15 Dec 2019 after an orderly transition and handover to incoming directors.
  5. Peter Mageza and Dawn Marole will step down from the Board effective 30 April 2020.

Further to the above, we are pleased to welcome onto the Board His Royal Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Vincent Rague with effect from 1 July 2019.

His Royal Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is a Nigerian national, the Emir of Kano and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Vincent Rague is a Kenyan national who worked for the International Finance Corporation for 24 years in a number of senior positions.

We are confident that the incoming directors will bring a wealth of experience, diversity of skills and regional experience to the Board.

Establishment of an International Advisory Board

The Board has resolved to establish an international advisory board (IAB) of prominent persons of considerable and wide-ranging experience. The primary purpose of the IAB will be to counsel, guide and support the MTN Group from time to time in fulfilling its vision and objective of being one of the premier African corporations with a global footprint in telecommunications, contributing to increased digital inclusion in Africa and the Middle East, a pivotal aspect of the fourth industrial revolution.

Whilst the IAB will be non-statutory in nature and not have any fiduciary responsibility, it will make an important contribution and play a highly valued role in ensuring that the Board is guided and assisted in achieving the company’s vision in a technically complex world with uncertain and shifting geopolitical interests. The IAB will commence on 1 July 2019.

The IAB will be chaired by His Excellency former President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki and will be constituted of the following persons:

  • His Excellency President John Kufuor, former President of Ghana
  • Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, former African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs
  • Dr. Mohammed el Baradei, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Dr. Momar Nguer, President of Marketing & Services Total S.A. (France)
  • Phuthuma Nhleko, Chairman of MTN Group

MTN Group Chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko commented, “MTN Group highly appreciates and thanks the MTN Group directors who will be stepping down after many years of valued service to the Group. We are confident that the incoming directors of the Board will bring a depth of skills and regional insights that will continue to enrich the experience of the board.

We are most privileged and honoured to have His Excellency former President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, agree to Chair the IAB and are grateful to all the distinguished persons of the IAB who have agreed to give of their valuable time to contribute to the development of telecommunications and connectivity in Africa and the Middle East.”

– Issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs

Further reading