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.
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.