Tuesday, 02 March 2021 05:39

MTN emerges Nigeria’s biggest company by earnings

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MTN Nigeria Telecommunications Plc, the Nigerian operation of Johannesburg wireless operator MTN, said it achieved a record turnover of N1.346 trillion for the financial year 2020, making it the biggest public company by revenue in Africa’s largest economy.

The firm is second only to Dangote Cement as the most capitalised company in the country.

Much as the telco expanded revenue by 15 per cent from the N1.170 trillion seen the previous year on the back of over a half rise in data income to N332.413 billion, its profit changed quite little, according to the audited report of the company.

“Adoption of our data and digital services accelerated as lockdowns and gathering restrictions were imposed, and work-from-home became the norm for many,” said Chief Executive Ferdi Moolman in a note, underscoring the pandemic outbreak as a blessing to telecom business in a year global trade generally took a bashing from the implacable virus.

But earnings were restrained by a rise in direct network operating costs by more than a quarter from N246.604 billion to N310.248 billion, and in discounts and commissions by over one fifth from N56.586 billion to N68.528 billion.

An 18 per cent rise in MTNN finance costs, which represents the cash it spends on interest on short-term loans, from N122.080 billion to N143.687 billion also capped earnings.

Pre-tax profit came to N298.874 billion, up from the N291.277 billion reported for the corresponding period of 2019, according to the telco’s financial statement published by the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Profit for the year inched up 1 per cent from N203.283 billion to N205.214 billion.

Shareholders fund upped from N145.857 billion to N178.386 billion at the rate of 22 per cent.

MTNN shares closed trade on the floor of the NSE on Monday at N174 per unit, posting no movement.