• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

MTN Group seeks approval for price hike across operating markets

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MTN Group plans to restore profitability and strengthen its balance sheet by managing costs and increasing tariffs for voice and data with regulatory backing across various markets.

MTN revealed this in its 2023 financials. According to the Group’s financial, MTN Nigeria reported a loss after tax of N137.0 billion in 2023 compared to a loss after tax of N348.7 billion in 2022, which was due to a sharp devaluation in the naira.

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MTN South Africa, reported a significant decline in its headline earnings per share (HEPS), a key measure of profitability. HEPS fell by 72.3 percent to 315 cents for the year ending December 31, compared to a restated figure of 1,137 cents from the previous year. Adjusted HEPS also decreased by 9.5 percent to 1,203 cents.

Nigeria’s central bank in June adopted new forex rules that MTN said led to an approximately 96.7 percent devaluation in the naira as of December.

It said, “The near-term macro headwinds to our business remain, particularly naira volatility. More broadly, inflation rates and interest rates may stay elevated across our markets.

“To mitigate future loss, the group plans to increase tariff for calls and data with regulatory backing from various stakeholders,” it reported.

MTN is working with regulators across several of its markets, including in Nigeria, to get approval to increase tariffs for voice and data. Ralph Mupita, MTN Group Chief Executive said, “Given our expense profile in Nigeria, we need some tariff increases to mitigate the cost of running the networks.”

The Group as a whole has a three-year 7 billion rand ($368.51 million) to 8 billion rand expense efficiency target. Nigeria is a big part of this exercise, Mupita added.

Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO during a press briefing on Monday said that Nigeria’s delays in implementing a price increase can be attributed to a political transition, resulting in the delay in the appointment of key stakeholders specifically the EVC of the NCC and the Minister.

“We’ve communicated our reasons for the need for the price increase, which is not just for us but also for the smaller players in the market who have severe sustainability issues. It is very hard to promise when exactly we are going to make those price increases but I think the urgency is crystal clear to everyone in the government, with hopes that it will happen soon,” Toriola said.