Business News 5.8.2016 01:18 pm

Signs that the worst is over for MTN

An MTN shop. Photo: Supplied

An MTN shop. Photo: Supplied

The board declared an interim dividend of 250 cents per share, more than half the 480 cents per share paid in the equivalent period last year.

Despite suffering heavy losses thanks to what it described as “the perfect storm”, MTN on Friday declared a healthy dividend for the six months to the end of June, suggesting that the mobile telecommunications company sees better days ahead.

Media analyst and tech commentator Arthur Goldstuck told the African News Agency (ANA): “MTN must feel that the worst is behind them.”

MTN on Friday blamed a combination of factors, many of them “outside of its control”, as it reported a headline loss per share of 271 cents for the half year, down from a profit of 654 cents per share in the corresponding period last year.

The statement pointed to heavy damage inflicted by a large fine from the Nigerian regulators, as well as losses from joint ventures and associates, and pain caused by currency fluctuations. The group’s after-tax loss came in at R6.3 billion, down from a profit of R13.9 billion last time.

However, the company added, the board had declared an interim dividend of 250 cents per share, more than half of the 480 cents per share in the equivalent period last time.

“The past year has truly been their year from mobile hell, and there is probably massive upside to the share price and to performance in general,” Goldstuck added.

MTN was also bullish on the full year dividend, saying it expected to pay a minimum of 700 cents, even after taking into consideration the impact of the Nigerian regulatory fine and the limited US dollar liquidity in Nigeria.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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