A man passes an MTN board in Lagos, Nigeria. Picture: AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
A man passes an MTN board in Lagos, Nigeria. Picture: AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

MTN said full-year earnings rose as Africa’s largest wireless carrier by subscribers shrugs off an ongoing tax dispute in Nigeria to report growth across its 21 markets.

Graphic: KAREN MOOLMAN
Graphic: KAREN MOOLMAN

Earnings per share, excluding some one-time items, were at least 20% higher than the R1.82 in 2017, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement on Monday, without giving further detail. The share price had fallen 3.04% to R85.42 by 2.36pm in SA. 

“There were a lot of once-offs in 2017 so the market was expecting at least 20%,” Ruhan du Plessis, an analyst at Avior Capital Markets in Cape Town, said by phone. “MTN has said it will give more detail closer to the time, but there is not enough detail in today’s announcement to get too positive.”

The cellphone company is facing a Nigerian court hearing later this week over an allegation it owes $2bn in taxes in its biggest market, which it denies.

Bloomberg