By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor
Despite posting strong revenue earning at the end of 2019 business year, MTN Group has announced that the group president and CEO Rob Shuter will be stepping down from his role in March 2021.
Although that appears the time his contract will elapse, the board said succession process will be concluded during the year, enabling a seamless handover.
The announcement, came as the group also said its financial standing at the end of 2019 financial year was strong and encouraging
At the end of business year ended 31 December 2019, the group said it added 18 million customers to reach a total of 251 million and increased data users by 17 million to 95 million and fintech customers by 7 million to 35 million.
Financially, it increased service revenue by 9,8 percent to R141,8 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) expanded by 13,6% to R53,4 billion. Group president and CEO Rob Shuter said: “In 2019, the 25th anniversary of MTN Group, we delivered commercial momentum across our operations as well as great progress in our strategy and strong financial results, despite challenging trading conditions.
We added 18 million customers to reach a total of 251 million and increased our data users by 17 million to 95 million and our fintech customers by 7 million to 35 million. This growth is central to our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. We also saw improvements in customer experience, network quality and market share across the group.
“On the strategic front, we launched our instant messaging platform Ayoba, which is now live in 12 markets with two million monthly active users. We launched MoMo in South Africa and Afghanistan and received our super-agent licence in Nigeria, registering more than 100 000 agents by year-end. We also delivered R14 billion of asset realisations within the first 12 months of our programme and MTN Nigeria listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange. We recorded progress on various regulatory issues, including the AGF tax matter in Nigeria. Relationships with stakeholders across our markets improved, and we reported our highest employee sustainable engagement score yet.
“On the financial side, we delivered service revenue growth of 9,8% with an acceleration in the second half. Our EBITDA margin improved and reported headline earnings per share grew by 62%. Our network rollout brought a further 69 million people into 4G coverage whilst reducing capex intensity. Improved cash flows during the year supported stable balance sheet ratios.”
He said the result was delivered against challenging macroeconomic conditions, particularly in South Africa, with muted economic activity and the rand weakening against the US dollar.