MTN South Africa increased its subscriber base by 8.9 percent to 28.0 million by 31 December 2014, reporting 2.7 million net additions in the second half of the year versus the 430,496 net disconnections recorded in the first half. This was largely a result of segmented offerings based on usage and of limited-duration on-net promotions.
Total revenue declined by 3.9 percent to ZAR 38. 92 billion. This was mainly a result of a 36.0 percent decline in interconnect revenue due to lower mobile termination rates (MTRs).
The EBITDA margin declined by 2.6 percentage points largely as a result of lower interconnect revenue, now a net payer, and increased provisions for impairment of trade receivables amounting to ZAR 616 million from ZAR 289 million in the previous year. Capex for the period was ZAR5 676 million, slightly lower than budget, due to improved procurement processes.
During the year, MTN added 520 new 2G sites and 904 3G sites. The 3G population coverage improved to 87 percent.
MTN Group revenue rises 6.4% in 'challenging' 2014
MTN Group announced that its revenue for the year ended 31 December 2014 rose by 6.4 percent to ZAR 146.2 billion, despite a 3.9 percent contraction in the South African operation's revenue and declines in the value of the Ghanaian cedi and the Syrian pound. Revenue growth was supported by an increase of 12.1 percent in MTN Nigeria's revenue and weakness in the Rand, which had a 3.2 percent positive impact on revenue.
Group EBITDA increased by 10.2 percent to ZAR 65.5 billion, with progress in cost optimisation efforts supporting a 1.5 percentage point expansion in the EBITDA margin to 44.8 percent for the year.
Group subscribers increased by 7.5 percent to 223.4 million, driven by competitive pricing, segmented offerings and improved network quality and capacity in many markets. Subscriber figures were, however, affected by the alignment of internal subscriber reporting methodology in Cameroon, which negatively impacted reported subscriber numbers by about 1.6 million.
Capital expenditure was ZAR 25.242 billion, which was 16.3 percent lower than the previous year. During 2014, the group rolled out 3,669 2G sites, 6,491 largely co-located 3G sites, and 684 LTE sites, facilitating increased voice and data usage on the network.
Basic headline earnings per share (HEPS) increased by 8.9 percent to ZAR 0.1536 and attributable earnings per share (EPS) increased by 20.0 percent to ZAR 0.1752. The group said the 2014 results reflect a challenging year, with aggressive price competition, increased regulatory requirements and pressure on consumer expenditure. The sharp decline in the oil price in the second half of the year had a marked impact on the economies and exchange rates of a number of African and Middle Eastern countries.
Notwithstanding these conditions, most of MTN's large and small operating companies (opcos) showed promising improvements in operational performance. In 2015, MTN expects to benefit from a number of interventions put in place in South Africa and Nigeria in the previous year. In South Africa, the group expects to build on the positive momentum gained in revenue and subscriber additions in the second half of 2014. The South African operation will also accelerate its immediate capex plans to support MTN's medium-term growth prospects, particularly in the data area