MTN (Ghana) – Q3 2021 results conference call transcript

By Published On: June 15th, 2022Categories: Corporate announcement, Transcripts

Operator

Good day ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the MTN Ghana’s 2021 Q3 results conference call. All attendees will be in listen-only mode. There will be an opportunity to ask questions when prompted. If you should need assistance during the call, please signal an operator by pressing * and then 0. Please note that this event is being recorded. I would now like to hand the conference over to Mr Jeremiah Opoku. Please go ahead, sir.

Jeremiah Opoku

Thanks, Judith, and good afternoon everyone, and thank you for joining us today to discuss MTN Ghana’s Q3 performance for the period ended 30 September 2021. I’m Jeremiah Opoku, Investor Relations Manager for MTN Ghana. With me on the call today are Selorm Adadevoh, CEO of MTN Ghana, Antoinette Kwofie, our new CFO who joined MTN on 1st October, Eli Hini, CEO of Mobile Money Ltd, Kobi Bentsi-Enchill, our General Manager of MTN Ghana Finance, and Thato Motlanthe, Group Executive for Investor Relations. Selorm will share an overview of our performance for the third quarter and outlook for the rest of the year before we move on to the Q&A session which will be facilitated by the conference call operator. The call is scheduled for an hour, and if there are any more questions, we may allow five minutes extra time. I will now hand over the call to Selorm. Thank you.

Selorm Adadevoh

Thank you, Jeremiah, and good afternoon everyone and thank you for making the time to join us on this call today. On the call we’ll discuss our third quarter performance and I’ll also touch briefly on our expectations for the rest of the year before we move on to Q&A. In Q3 2021 we maintained momentum from our half year performance underpinned by our diligent execution on Ambition 2025, investment in network and IT systems, and ensuring our people remain a priority in light of the continued effects of the COVID-10 pandemic.

As of 26 October 2021, the official Ghana statistics on COVID-19 showed a rise in the total infections and deaths to 103,000 and 823 respectively. MTN Ghana continues to extend support to cherished customers through our Y’ello Hope initiatives including the zero rating of all mobile money P2P transfers up to a value of ₵100 a day. And we are also running the One More Push campaign to encourage everyone to wear a mask and get vaccinated. We at MTN continue to adhere strictly to all COVID-19 protocols with the aim of safeguarding the health and safety of our people and of our customers. And we also remain committed to Ghanaians and the environment in support of the continuing fight against COVID-19.

Turning to our operational performance for the period, we recorded a 25.4% year on year growth in service revenue driven mainly by data and mobile money. We continue to deliver on our infrastructure modernisation plan and implemented capex related infrastructure projects to expand 4G capacity, 4G coverage and to improve the quality of service for our customers. Over the period we invested a total capex of approximately ₵1.060 billion which includes the rollout of 959 4G sites, the modernisation of 1,543 existing 4G sites, and this helped expand our 4G population coverage by 4.7% to 84.7%. We grew our active subscriber base by 0.4 million quarter on quarter to 25.2 million. This reversed the decline in the last quarter that we experienced. This was supported by our network investment, digital offerings and an improvement in quality of service overall.

Looking at the various business segments, we recorded a 51.9% year on year growth in data driven by increases in our active data subscribers and total data consumed within the period. The contribution of data to service revenue expanded from 29% to 35.1%.

Voice revenue recorded a single digit growth of 2% year on year. This growth in voice continues to be impacted by shifts in customer behaviour towards data and implementation of SMP directives. The contribution of voice to service revenue declined from 42.5% to 34.6% year on year. We expect the trend in the voice segment to continue as a result of continued growth in smartphone penetration and the preference for data services by consumers. However, we expect data growth to compensate for the slower growth in voice.

Mobile money revenue increased by 45.3% year on year supported by increased active users, higher P2P transactional activity and growth in advanced services such as retail, merchant payments, micro loans, insurance and international remittances. The contribution of mobile money to service revenue increased from 19.6% to 22.8% year on year.

We recorded a 23.8% year on year decline in digital revenue which was a result of the continued impact from the application of the principal versus agent account standard across the group in 2020. On a normalised basis digital revenue increased by 14.4% year on year supported by growth in our active digital subscribers.

Reported EBITDA increased by 27.5% year on year with a margin expansion of 1.1pp to 54.4%. This was supported by our continued focus and execution of our expense efficiency programme. Profit after tax growth for the period was 34.0% year on year. As announced last quarter, we paid the interim dividend of 0.03 Ghana Cedi per share, in total an amount of ₵369 million. This payment happened on 14th September 2021.

Looking at the regulatory landscape, the National Communications Authority, the NCA, through the telecom operators is embarking on a six-month nationwide SIM re-registration exercise using the Ghana national ID card as the sole card for this purpose. This exercise will run from October 1st, 2021 to 31st March 2022. MTN has begun this exercise and remains committed to support the government to register all existing and new subscribers on our network.

As announced in the previous quarter release, MTN Ghana implemented the directive from the NCA on phase one of the on-net off-net price differential removal and default tariffs for voice, data and SMS from 1st August 2021. Phase two is scheduled to be implemented on November 1st, 2021 to extend beyond the default tariffs to cover promotional offers and special offers. Including the above remedy, we have implemented all three of the seven SMP remedies defined to date by the regulator. We will update the market on the implementation of the remaining four directives as discussions with the NCA progresses.

Now turning to our outlook. We expect to maintain the business momentum through the last quarter of the year. We will continue to expand 4G coverage and improve our network to further enhance subscriber growth and customer experience. In addition, we will progress the execution of the expense efficiency programme and our prudent approach to managing cost to deliver on our commitment of margin expansion.

We will continue to support our employees, our customers and communities as we deliver against our Ambition 2025 focus areas for the year in order to capture long-term growth opportunities and create sustainable value for all our stakeholders. I will now hand over to the conference call operators for questions and answers, and I look forward to interacting with you over the next one hour. Thank you very much.

Operator

Thank you very much, sir. Ladies and gentlemen, at this time if you’d like to ask a question you’re welcome to press * and then 1 on your touchtone phone or the keypad on your screen. If you decide to withdraw your question, you are welcome to press * then 2 to exit the question queue. Just a reminder, if you would like to ask a question you are welcome to press * and then 1. The first question comes from Jonathan Kennedy-Good of JP Morgan.

Jonathan Kennedy-Good

Good afternoon and thanks for the opportunity to ask questions. The first one is on selling, distribution and marketing expenses. I just wanted to check. It looked like there was 24% or 25% growth in that fairly large Opex line. I’m just trying to understand whether there were any once-offs there or it was due mainly to the pandemic base of last year and trying to get a handle on what we should expect growth to be like in that expense line going forward. And then on the implementation of phase two of the regulation on on-net off-net pricing, how do you expect that to impact voice revenue? Would it be substantial pressure on the voice line, or could growth be maintained?

Selorm Adadevoh

Okay. Thank you for your questions. Let me start off with t