MTN remains the most admired African brand

MTN is delighted to announce that it remains the ‘Most Admired African Brand’ based on spontaneous consumer responses in Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands 2020 survey released on Monday. MTN is also the only African brand in the rankings of the ‘Most Admired Brands in Africa’.

In a survey carried out in 27 countries, representing around 80% of the population and the GDP of Africa, the group is now also considered one of the continent’s most admired media brands. MTN Mobile Money – through which MTN provides more than 35 million Africans access to financial services – remains one of Africa’s most admired finance brands. The Group also maintained its top position in the telecoms provider category.

“We are thrilled to receive these accolades as the continent celebrates Africa Day,” said Group President and CEO Rob Shuter. “They endorse the work that we are doing to build a digital operator, moving our customers from a voice-centric world into the world of mobile data, digital services and financial services by using the power of the internet.”

“Achieving the best brand in our markets is a critical part of our BRIGHT strategy. I would like to thank all our customers and communities for the trust that they have shown in us. It encourages us to work harder every day to deliver on our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.”

MTN Group’s Foundations boost efforts to combat COVID-19

MTN Group has boosted its MTN Foundation’s contribution to support efforts in combatting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across its footprint. The initiatives include contributing towards Government Relief Funds, the procurement and sourcing of vital Health Care Resources, Food and Water Security through the provision of food packages and water points to meet basic needs, and the Economic Upliftment of SMMEs and local market value chains.

The COVID-19 global pandemic is already the most severe human tragedy of our generation. While the exact consequences, including those of a socio-economic nature, cannot be accurately estimated at this stage, we know that the health emergency is to be followed by social and economic emergencies, both globally and across our markets.

The vulnerable in our societies will suffer the most during this crisis, both in the short and in the long-term, and we have identified food insecurity to be the most pressing as well as the most disruptive risk to our societies.

Across the continent and beyond, national governments have set up relief funds aimed at supporting those in the greatest of need. MTN Group has contributed a monetary value of R42 million in a number of markets for Government Relief Funds in response to COVID-19 efforts. The funding is for the support of the unemployed, small and large businesses and the procurement of essential goods such as food and medicine which positively impacts the economic upliftment of societies.

In line with MTN Group’s commitment towards minimising the spread of the virus, MTN has supported the provision of 130 500 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 10 000 virus testing kits. Through the donation of food packs and the provision of water points, approximately 46 000 people have access to vital food and water during these trying times. Through these efforts and our support for Government Relief Funds, we have invested R70 million towards ensuring communities are supported.

Nompilo Morafo, Group Executive Corporate Affairs, says: “MTN, as a leading brand in the markets in which we operate, believes that we have a  key role to play in assisting to minimise the likelihood of transmission and its impact on society. We are incredibly  proud of the level of resilience that the communities have demonstrated across our operations as they fight against the challenges that COVID-19 brings.

Africa and the Middle East have always been cultures defined by ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and positivity. We believe the more we can do to address our communities’ essential needs, the more time they can use to focus on this resilience and innovation potential that will be at the heart of social and economic recovery.”

Since COVID-19 has transformed the world we live in there have been countless inspiring stories of ingenuity as people find new ways to operate and contribute to the recovery. African laboratories and tech companies have developed rapid testing kits, mobile tracking apps and medical drones. In some countries radio, web solutions and apps are delivering education to students who would otherwise be cut off from school and across the continent businesses are redesigning their production lines to manufacture much needed ventilators, sanitizers and PPEs. As we rebuild and reshape our economies, innovation will be the game changer.

We are committed to leveraging our core capabilities to enable this process, underpinned by our core belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life and that connectivity can play a unifying role.

The COVID-19 pandemic as a global health and societal emergency requires effective and immediate action by governments, individuals and businesses. It is critical that we collectively respond with one unified voice and take the necessary measures to make a meaningful contribution to society.

MTN Group reports continued commercial momentum in the first quarter

MTN Group today announced a positive service revenue trajectory in the first quarter financial results for the year ended 31 March 2020

Speaking on the results MTN Group president and CEO, Rob Shuter said: “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy have brought about unprecedented uncertainty, volatility and challenges which are impacting our markets at both the socio-economic and macro-economic levels. The impact of the pandemic on our quarter one performance was not significant as lockdown restrictions for our consolidated subsidiaries were only implemented from the last week of March 2020.

We continued to build commercial momentum adding 6,6 million subscribers in the quarter, with active data users increasing by 2,9 million and MoMo subscribers by 0,4 million. We continued to scale our Ayoba platform recording 2,6 million monthly active users. We accelerated our MoMo agency network in Nigeria, under our super-agent licence, adding 70 000 agents in the first quarter, bringing the total number of registered agents to 178 000.

On strategic progress, the digital business returned to growth, booking 15.6% in the quarter. In MTN SA the enterprise business recorded its second quarter of growth and in May we commenced phase 2 of the national roaming agreement with Cell C and look forward to a continued partnership.

In these difficult times we continue to focus on our key priorities: looking after our people, our customers and our networks while we focus on efficiencies. For our people, the immediate priority is their health and safety, where the work-from-home programmes across our markets empower our staff to work remotely while ensuring continuity in our operations. For our customers, we have ramped up our digital channels as a service alternative, to enable them to continue purchasing airtime and accessing our products and services seamlessly as well as launching Y’ello Hope Packages in most of our markets.

Our various initiatives support governments across our markets with communication systems and connectivity as we do our part to help minimise the economic and social impact.

The COVID-19 situation is an evolving one and will undoubtedly impact the year ahead. Given the uncertainties associated with the duration and economic impact of the pandemic, it is difficult to reliably quantify the direct and indirect financial impacts on the business at this early stage. The group will continue to focus on business continuity and efficiency, and we have implemented strict measures to preserve resources and strengthen our resilience.”

Financial Performance

For the first quarter, MTN delivered a solid performance increasing constant currency service revenue by 11,1% and EBITDA by 15,6% with EBITDA margin improving by 2,1pp to 43,2%, in line with medium-term targets. The group recorded voice, data and fintech revenue growth of 6,3%, 26,4% and 26,0% respectively as we continued to execute on our strategic objectives and progress toward becoming a digital operator. Digital revenue has returned to growth, increasing by 15,6%.

MTN Group CFO, Ralph Mupita concluded, “We are encouraged by the service revenue growth of 11.1% which we achieved on a constant currency basis, this translated to 16.5% on a reported basis. Good cost control across the group supported the increase in group EBITDA margins, with a particular strong performance from MTN Ghana. Notwithstanding the impacts of COVID-19 in the first quarter, the balance sheet remained resilient and our cash and committed undrawn facilities was approximately R45 billion at the holding company level, providing us with sufficient liquidity during these uncertain and unprecedented times.

We have experienced a continued surge in data traffic during the month of April, but voice traffic and mobile money transactions were under pressure given various lockdown measures taken across markets. Where lockdown measures have been lifted or relaxed recently, voice recharges and mobile money transaction volumes have improved. For now, we are maintaining our 3 – 5 years medium-term guidance but will update the capital markets in August of any changes when we release our H1 2020 results.”

Looking ahead

The current environment is marked by significant uncertainties. It is still too early to assess the economic impact of the pandemic on our customers and reliably quantify the direct or indirect financial effects on our business. The remainder of the year will be shaped by the ramifications of the pandemic, and we will continue to update all stakeholders as the effects become clearer.

We are not only focused on managing the risks brought about by COVID-19, but also on the opportunities it creates in the accelerated digitalization it has brought about. We believe we are well positioned as a company to benefit from this evolution, especially given our focus on growth in our data, digital and financial services businesses. The Group remains focused on the execution of our BRIGHT strategy to deliver sustainable growth in our operations and value to our stakeholders.

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