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MTN H1 profit down 7%

On the back of a lower contribution from associates and joint ventures.
Headline EPS came in at 215 cents in the six months through June compared with 231 cents a year earlier. Picture: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

MTN Group, Africa’s biggest mobile operator, reported a 7% decline in half-year profit on Wednesday due to a lower contribution from associates and joint ventures.

Headline EPS, the primary measure of profit in South Africa that excludes certain one-off items, came in at 215 cents in the six months through June compared with 231 cents a year earlier.

MTN, a poster child of post-apartheid South African commercial success, said the results were negatively affected by a hefty 66% drop to R197 million in contributions mainly from its joint venture in Iran and a widening loss in its e-commerce joint venture, Africa Internet Holdings.

MTN is in the middle of a strategic overhaul that includes branching out of basic telecoms services into music streaming, mobile banking and e-commerce and is reviewing its presence in markets where it not a major player.

Read: MTN in ‘deep, fundamental strategic review’

It sold its tiny Cypriot business last month for R4 billion to Monaco Telecom, sparking vague talk that other smaller businesses in Liberia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau were next on the chopping block.

The company declared a dividend of 175 cents per share, and said it was on course to pay out a total of 500 cents for the 2018 financial year.

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