South Africa’s MTN Group posted a 20 percent rise in full-year profit on Wednesday and sharply lifted its dividend payment, as benefits from strong subscriber growth in emerging markets.
MTN, Africa’s largest mobile phone operator, said adjusted headline earnings per share totalled 909.1 cents for the year to end-December compared with 754.3 cents a year earlier, at the top end of its own forecasts for an increase of between 18 and 23 percent.
While mobile phone operators in fast-growing Africa avoided the brunt of the global economic crisis, they are faced with stiff competition and even swings in commodity prices, key to the health of some major African markets.
Meanwhile, MTN Foundation, the corporate social investment vehicle of MTN Nigeria, has concluded plans to commission its universities Connect Project at the Univeristy of Benin(UNIBEN) in Edo State.
India’s Bharti Airtel in particular, has been ramping up pressure on competitors such as MTN through a price war.
MTN, which operates mobile phone networks across Africa and the Middle East, said its users grew 22 percent to 141.6 million. MTN Nigeria recorded a 25 percent rise in subscribers to 38.7 million and Iran users increased 28 percent to 29.7 million. South Africa had growth of 17.3 percent to 18.8 million.
The group declared a final dividend of 349 cents per share, bringing its total dividend for the year to 500 cents.
Meanwhile, the commissioning of the MTN digital library, which constitutes the fourth phase of the project, is scheduled for Monday, March 14th, 2011.
The MTN Foundation UniversitiesConnect project is an ICT-in-Education project like the Foundation’s flagship project, SchoolsConnect, which equips secondary schools students and teachers with requisite skills to function effectively in the fast evolving digital economy.
The project is being implemented by the Education Portfolio of the Foundation.
Dignitaries from all walks of life, including government officials, members of the boards of MTN Nigeria and the MTN Foundation, as well as top officials of the University of Benin are expected at the occasion.
The UniversitiesConnect digital library comprises 128 networked computers, 3 servers, 2 high capacity printers, one sound proof 100KVA generator, VSAT equipment and internet connectivity with a 2 year subscription. The library is linked to world-class digital libraries across the world, providing access to electronic resources like books, journals, magazines etc, covering all subjects from Law, Architecture and Medicine to Arts, and Engineering.
The first phase of the project benefitted University of Lagos, Akoka while the second phase benefitted Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. University of Nigeria, Nsukka is the third beneficiary of the unique project.