Despite the various issues it faces in the country, Nigeria was a high earning market for MTN Group in its latest quarterly report.
Commenting on its results, the group’s CEO and President Rob Shuter confirmed that MTN intends to go ahead with an IPO of its Nigerian unit regardless of the financial demands placed on it by the country’s Central Bank and government. Previous reports had suggested that the group was reconsidering the float due to ongoing issues in the market.
MTN has denied any wrongdoing after receiving a demand for $8.1 billion which the Central Bank of Nigeria claims was illegally repatriated from the country. The Nigerian attorney general then alleged that MTN owed the government $2 billion in unpaid back taxes.
The group has stated: “We remain resolute that MTN Nigeria has not committed any offences and will continue to defend this position vigorously”, adding that it is cooperating “extensively” with authorities to resolve both cases.
With regard to its Q3 results, MTN noted that its Nigerian business had “had an excellent quarter”, citing increased data revenue. Its Ghanaian business also fared well, while as a group it saw a 2.5 million increase in subscribers compared to the previous quarter. However, year-on-year its total base actually fell from 229.8 million to 225.4 million.
Noting that its service revenue had grown above expectations at 10% year-on-year, MTN attributed “strong growth in voice and data revenue” to the 5 million data subscribers it added in Q3. In addition, it attracted 1.7 million new mobile money customers during the quarter.