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MTN Nigeria Mobile Subscribers Increased by 7.6% to 74.1 Million in H1 2022

Africa’s leading telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria has reported a 7.6% increase in the total number of mobile subscribers in the first half (H1) of the year ended June 30, 2022 to 74.1 million.

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MTN Nigeria - Investors King

Africa’s leading telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria has reported a 7.6% increase in the total number of mobile subscribers in the first half (H1) of the year ended June 30, 2022 to 74.1 million.

The telecoms giant disclosed this in its unaudited financial results released and obtained by Investors King on Friday.

According to the financial statement, MTN Nigeria added 5.7 million subscribers in the first half of the year. Active data users grew by 2.5 million or 13.2% to 36.8 million when compared to the same period in 2021 while active fintech subscribers increased by a whopping 87.3% or 4 million registered (2.4 million active) MoMo wallets to 11.5 million since it launched its Payments Service Bank (PSB) in May 2022.

Revenue generated through service expanded 19.9% to N947.9 billion in the period under review. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 22.1% to N509.3 billion.

The company’s EBITDA margin increased by 0.9 percentage points (pp) to 53.6%. Profit before tax increased by 24.9% to N268.6 billion. MTN Nigeria grew profit after tax by 28.1% to N181.6 billion in the first half of 2022.

Earnings per share rose by 28.1% to N8.92 kobo while capital expenditure jumped by 67.1% to N311.6 billion.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO, said “During the first half of 2022, we made good progress in strengthening the resilience of the business in the face of our increasingly challenging operating environment with rising energy, food and general inflation putting pressure on consumer spending. The conflict in Ukraine as well as implementation of a “zero-COVID” policy in China, has also put a strain on global supply chains. To mitigate global supply chain and exchange rate risks, we accelerated capital expenditure for network expansion into H1 2022.

“We deployed capex of N311.6 billion to accelerate the rollout of our 4G network, which now covers 75.3% (compared to 65.1% in H1 2021) of the population and accounts for 77.9% of data traffic (compared to 67.2% in H1 2021).

“In addition, having acquired one lot of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz spectrum band from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we are on track to launch 5G services across the country in Q3 2022. 5G technologies deliver significantly higher speeds and lower latency, potentially unlocking many new use cases for consumers and enterprises while improving network economics.”

On the impact of NCC on the company’s operations,  Toriola said 2.6 million of the 10 million subscribers deactivated on the commission mandate have been reactivated after verification by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

He said “Since the directive from the NCC for all operators to restrict outgoing calls for subscribers whose SIMs are not associated with NINs, approximately 10 million of those affected have submitted their NIN, of which about 2.6 million have been reactivated following verification by National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

“We continue to engage our affected customers and support NIMC in accelerating NIN enrolment in the country.

“We maintained strong commercial momentum with a net addition of 5.7 million mobile subscribers in H1. This reflects a pleasing acceleration in the run-rate of monthly net additions during Q2, following the initial impact of the restriction of outgoing calls placed on subscribers who had not submitted their National Identity Number (NIN) as at 4 April 2022. Our aggressive drive for gross connections supported this recovery as we ramped up SIM registration and NIN enrolment capacity.”

The CEO further stated that the company increased active data subscribers by 2.5 million in the first half of 2022.

He said “We added 2.5 million active data subscribers in H1 as we continued to drive data conversion from the new and existing subscriber base. In addition, we continue to enhance the quality and coverage of our network to accommodate the increasing demand for data.

“We achieved some important strategic milestones in H1 towards delivering our Ambition 2025 strategy. This includes the final approval for our MoMo Payment Service Bank (PSB) and the commencement of commercial operations on 19 May 2022, leveraging the solid foundation of our existing MoMo business.

“We are pleased with the progress since the launch and excited about the prospects of our fintech business and driving financial inclusion in the country. As at the end of June 2022, we recorded 4.2 million registered MoMo wallets of which 2.4 million are active, generating MoMo transaction volume of approximately 7 million within six weeks of operations.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

CBN Rate Hikes Raise Borrowing Costs for Banks Seeking FX

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has implemented a significant adjustment to its borrowing rates.

The move, which follows the CBN’s recent decision to adjust the asymmetric corridor around the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), has led to an increase in the cost of borrowing for banks seeking foreign exchange (FX).

This decision comes amid heightened concerns over the Naira’s performance and inflation rates.

According to Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director/CEO of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, the adjustment means that banks now face borrowing costs of nearly 32% from the CBN, a sharp increase from the previous rate of approximately 26%.

This change in borrowing costs is intended to deter banks from relying on the CBN for FX purchases, thereby reducing pressure on the Naira.

Data reveals that in the first five days of July 2024, banks borrowed an unprecedented N5.38 trillion from the CBN, marking a record high.

The increased borrowing costs are expected to reduce this practice, thereby alleviating some of the strain on the Naira.

Despite these efforts, the Naira has continued to struggle. On Tuesday, the Naira depreciated by 3.13% against the US dollar, with the exchange rate falling to N1,548.76.

This decline is attributed to reduced dollar supply and ongoing uncertainty surrounding Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

The black market saw an even sharper drop, with the Naira falling to 1,687 per dollar, reflecting broader concerns about currency stability.

Rewane highlighted that the recent rate hikes are part of a broader strategy by the CBN to manage inflation and stabilize the Naira.

“The increase in borrowing costs is a necessary step to address the carry trade practices where banks use cheap funds from the CBN to buy FX and sell it at higher rates,” he explained.

The CBN’s decision to raise borrowing costs comes amid a backdrop of persistent inflation and rising interest rates.

Over the past three years, the CBN has raised interest rates 12 times, with recent adjustments aimed at managing liquidity and curbing inflation.

As of June 2024, Nigeria’s headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) reached 34.19%, up from 33.95% in May.

The central bank’s policy changes are expected to have mixed effects.

Analysts at FBNQuest anticipate that banks will continue to benefit from the high-interest rate environment, potentially leading to a shift of assets from equities to fixed-income securities as investors seek higher yields.

The CBN remains committed to navigating Nigeria through these challenging economic conditions.

By adjusting borrowing costs and implementing tighter monetary policies, the central bank aims to strike a balance between managing inflation, stabilizing the Naira, and supporting overall economic growth.

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Finance

Senate Passes Bill for 70% Windfall Levy on Banks’ Forex Gains

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Naira Exchange Rates - Investors King

The Nigerian Senate has approved an amendment to the Finance Act of 2023, increasing the windfall levy on banks’ foreign exchange gains from 50% to 70%.

The bill was passed during a plenary session on Tuesday after a thorough review by the Finance Committee.

The Senate’s decision aims to address the significant profits banks have accrued due to recent foreign exchange policy shifts.

This windfall is viewed as a product of government intervention rather than the banks’ strategic efforts, prompting the call for redistribution.

The additional revenue from this levy is expected to contribute to financing the N6.2 trillion Appropriation Amendment Bill.

This funding will support various government projects and initiatives, ensuring that the windfall benefits are reinvested into the economy.

The Senate also approved amendments to the payment timeline, setting the levy to take effect from the start of the new foreign exchange regime through 2025, avoiding retrospective application from January 2024.

Also, the Upper Chamber removed the proposed jail term for principal officers of defaulting banks.

Instead, banks that fail to remit the levy will incur a penalty of 10% per annum on the withheld amount, alongside interest at the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Minimum Rediscount Rate.

This legislative move aligns with President Tinubu’s broader fiscal strategy, which aims to optimize national revenue through independent sources.

The amendment underscores the Senate’s commitment to leveraging bank profits for national development, especially amid economic challenges.

While some industry stakeholders express concerns about the impact on banking operations, others see this as a necessary step towards equitable wealth distribution and economic stability.

The bill’s passage is anticipated to have significant implications for both the financial sector and the broader economy.

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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank Retains Position As Nigeria’s Number One Bank By Tier-1 Capital For Fifteen Consecutive Years In The 2024 Top 1000 World Banks’ Ranking

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For the fifteenth consecutive year, Zenith Bank Plc has retained its position as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the 2024 Top 1000 World Banks’ Rankings, published by The Banker Magazine.

This ranking places Zenith Bank Plc as the 565th Bank globally with a Tier-1 Capital of $2.01 billion. The rankings, published in the July 2024 edition of The Banker Magazine of the Financial Times Group, United Kingdom, recognise Zenith Bank’s continued financial strength and stability.

They are based on the 2023 year-end Tier-1 capital of banks globally and remain the primary source for global bank financials used by most international organisations in their assessments of banks.

Tier-1 Capital describes capital adequacy, the core measure of a bank’s financial strength from a regulator’s perspective.

According to the ranking, Tier-1 Capital, as defined by the latest Bank for International Settlements (BIS) guidelines, includes loss-absorbing capital, i.e., common stock, disclosed reserves, retained earnings, and minority interests in the equity of subsidiaries that are less than wholly owned.

A strong Tier-1 capital ratio boosts investor and depositor confidence, indicating the Bank is well-capitalised and financially stable.

Commenting on this achievement, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dame (Dr.) Adaora Umeoji, OON, said, “We are deeply honoured to be recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the fifteenth consecutive year. This recognition is a testament to our strategic focus on sustainable growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction. It also emphasises our resilience and strength in navigating the ever-evolving financial landscape. Our dedicated team of professionals has remained steadfast in ensuring that we maintain our position at the forefront of the banking industry.”

She extended her profound and sincere appreciation to the Founder and Chairman, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR, whose visionary and transformative leadership has played a pivotal role in cultivating a resilient and thriving establishment.

She also expressed her deep appreciation for the board’s insightful governance, the staff’s relentless dedication, and the unwavering loyalty of the bank’s esteemed customers to the Zenith brand.

Zenith Bank’s financial performance for the year was driven by a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125% in gross earnings, from N945.6 billion reported in 2022 to N2.132 trillion in 2023. This growth led to an improved market share in both the retail and corporate segments despite a persistently challenging macroeconomic environment.

The increase in gross earnings was primarily due to growth in interest and non-interest income. Interest income growth was attributed to the increase in the size of risk assets and their effective repricing, while non-interest income was driven by significant trading gains and gains from the revaluation of foreign currencies.

Zenith Bank recently commenced recapitalisation efforts with the conclusion of its Capital Markets Day held on 11th July 2024. It aims to raise the least amount of capital amongst its peers at N230 billion, considering it already maintains a robust capital base of N270.7 billion.

The Bank remains dedicated to supporting the growth of the Nigerian economy and providing its numerous customers with innovative and efficient banking solutions.

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, with these latest accolades coming on the heels of several recognitions. These include being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the fourteenth consecutive year in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking, published by The Banker Magazine.

The Bank was also awarded the Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2022; and Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria in the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards.
Further recognitions include Best Bank in Nigeria for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards and Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023 in the World Finance Banking Awards.

Additionally, Zenith Bank has been acknowledged as the Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria, in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards for 2022 and 2023, and ‘Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa for four consecutive years from 2020 to 2023 by the Ethical Boardroom.

The Bank’s commitment to excellence saw it being named the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands for 2020 and 2021, and Retail Bank of the Year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

The Bank also received the accolades of Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria, in the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards, Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation in Retail Banking, Nigeria, in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards. Zenith Bank was named Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.

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