MTN: 10,530 +278 (+2.71%)
South Africa's MTN expects up to 90 pct jump in 2018 profit
JOHANNESBURG, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Africa's biggest mobile
phone operator MTN Group expects to increase profits by
as much as 90 percent in 2018, as the company continues to
recover from a regulatory fine in Nigeria.
Founded with the South African government’s help after the
end of apartheid in 1994, MTN is touted as one of South Africa’s
biggest corporate success stories, but clashes with regulators
have distracted management and crimped growth.
MTN, which is due to report 2018 results on March 7, said on
Thursday that headline earnings per share, the primary measure
of profit in South Africa, would likely come in a range of 328
cents to 346 cents for the year ended December. That compares
with 182 cents a year earlier.
Even the upper end of the forecast is not even half what the
company reported in 2015, a year before it agreed to pay a $1.7
billion fine over three years for missing a deadline to cut off
unregistered SIM card users in Nigeria.
The oil-rich west African country accounts for nearly a third
of MTN's core profit, but it has become increasingly
In December, the company agreed to pay $53 million to
resolve a dispute with the Central Bank of Nigeria, which had
accused MTN of sending abroad $8.1 billion using improperly
issued paperwork. The company is still fighting in court with
the Nigerian attorney general over $2 billion in back taxes.
It has also faced run-ins with authorities in other
countries where it operates, including Uganda, where four senior
executives were deported in recent weeks on accusations of
compromising national security.
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng
Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Elaine Hardcastle)
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