MTN FY numbers, in recovery mode

03-MAR-17

MTN had results yesterday. I guess the share price reaction tells you a lot about what the market thought, the stock definitely outpaced expectations, if you think that is important. It is at some level. The stock has disappointed bitterly after a period of sublime growth through the last decade, adding tons of customers and making sure that they were building out a continental champion, a brand that is well recognised alongside other multinationals, such as Coke. They are really that big in some territories. Michael is not a fan of MTN investor relations. I can see why, the presentation is still not up, the one from yesterday. That is, how should we say ..... not good. I sent a tweet to the MTNGroup handle, awaiting a reply.


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MTN 9 month numbers - huge data growth

25-OCT-16

MTN reported numbers for their nine months to end September. Rob Shuter is going to join earlier than previously thought. 13 March next year, which is still a long way away. I guess it cannot actually come sooner for current chief Phuthuma Nhleko. As he is quoted in the SENS, he continues to shift more and more responsibilities to both Stephen Van Coller (who is the Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions, as well as Strategy) and Gunter Engling, the acting CFO. Nhleko has stuck in some "hard targets" for the 12, 18 and 24 months, with the first half of the next financial year set to reveal the results of these targets.


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MTN under investigation again in Nigeria

28-SEP-16

In the losing column near the top was MTN again, allegations from the Nigerian Senate Floor that the company has illegally repatriated 13.92 billion Dollars over a ten year period. What? As far as I understood it, the Nigerian Central Bank facilitates all of the ins and outs, right? They would know all the flows. The company this morning has suggested that the comments are completely unfounded and without any merit. Yech. More noise that detracts from the core business trying to empower ordinary citizens to get access to the internet. The more investment in the networks, the better and cheaper the internet will get for their users. Data in the developed world, where I am sorry to say this next part, is more business friendly, is more like a utility. And cheaper. So you use more of it across your devices and empower yourself. The better for ordinary citizens. The more you stifle business, the less they will invest. Yech, we watch it.


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MTN Zakhele Futhi update

12-SEP-16

MTN has released the much anticipated Prospectus for MTN Zakhele Futhi (the new BEE scheme that will replace MTN Zakhele when it unwinds on 24 November 2016).The purpose of the MTN Zakhele Futhi Offer is to provide the Black Public with an opportunity to participate in the ownership of the MTN Group, either through the MTN Zakhele Futhi Public Offer or by continuing to participate therein through the MTN Zakhele Re-investment Offer. The MTN Zakhele Futhi offer is a part of the 2016 MTN BEE Transaction, which is sized to be approximately 4.0% of MTN's issued share capital on a Fully Diluted Basis.


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MTN Zakhele Futhi

24-AUG-16

MTN Group came out with an interesting announcement that a lot of people have been waiting for with bated breath. To those who do not know what I am talking about, I am referring to the announcement of the new BBBEE scheme now going to be referred to as 'MTN Zakhele Futhi'.


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MTN 6 month numbers - hurt by Nigerian fine

08-AUG-16

MTN Group reported numbers for their half year to end June this morning (Friday morning). It has been a tumultuous time for the mobile operator, lurching from one problem to the next, Iran and the hyperinflation (and sanctions, inability to externalise money), Nigeria and the whopping (if not borderline stupid) fine, price wars in the local market. There is a time when one questions the thesis over and over.


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MTN 6 month trading update - swing to loss

20-JUL-16

MTN released a very mixed trading statement for the first six months of their financial year, it required very careful reading in order to catch all of it. Since the Nigerian fine resolution and payment terms have been finalised, there has been a certain amount of relief for shareholders. That does not remove the fact that trading conditions in some of their core territories are likely to be become any easier. There are unintended consequences of the way that they dealt with the fine that are potentially negative to the business, if only from a short term consumer perspective. We can't quantify the damage. Having said that, those with the infrastructure and ability to meet consumer needs, as a result of having spent heavily on a network when others were late, win in the end.


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MTN gets new leadership

21-JUN-16

MTN in the news yesterday, firstly the Appointment of New MTN Group President & Chief Executive Officer was met with major excitement by Mr. Market, a man with a lot of experience and deal making activities, here he is - Robert Shuter. As you can see from a well maintained LinkedIn profile, Rob is currently Chief Executive Officer Europe Cluster at Vodafone. He was head of Investment Banking at Standard Bank once upon a time and for a long while was Managing Director for Nedbank Retail, before moving to Vodacom as the Chief Financial Officer.


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MTN fine resolved

13-JUN-16

MTN have finally announced a settlement with the Nigerian government slash communications authorities. The announcement is pretty simple (excuse the poor format, not ours) - MTN - Nigerian fine update & cautionary withdrawal. As you can see, the fine is tiered, in terms of payment. The company will pay 330 billion Naira over three years. What amazes me about the release is this excerpt from the sentence detailing the fine - "the equivalent of USD1.671 billion at the official exchange rate and USD902 million at the Lagos Parallel Market Rate".


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MTN FY numbers - Data growth still holding strong

07-MAR-16

MTN had results on Thursday, these were for their full year to end December, in what has been their toughest year in a decade and a half. I remember all those years back when they seemingly overpaid for a licence in Nigeria, only for it to turn out to be genius. We looked, we watched and we tried to understand what the market is making of the fine, the unresolved issues. I have chatted to many people about South African businesses going about their work in that territory, let us just say that it is strained at best. It is a bit like that here, somehow we pretend to stand together as a continent, in reality however the situation is different. Each territory has their fair share of challenges, each territory has a separate regulatory environment, in fairness all trying to achieve maximum coverage at a fair rate for their people.


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MTN Goodfaith payment

25-FEB-16

MTN released a statement yesterday which the market responded to in a Goldilocks way. Not the best via the website white labelling: MTN-update on fine imposed and cautionary renewal. In short, the company will make "without prejudice good faith" a payment of 250 million Dollars. At the unicorn rate (the official rate) that is 50 billion Naira, at the street rate i.e the real life rate of 370 Naira to the Dollar, that is equal to 92.5 billion Naira. I swear, you cannot make this up, National newspapers are talking about the parallel rate in Nigeria on their websites: Nigerians Shun Money Transfer Agencies as Exchange Rate Gap Widens, the quote:


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MTN trading update

19-FEB-16

MTN released a really ugly looking trading statement yesterday after the market closed. Earnings are likely to be more than 20 percent lower for the full year to end 31 December 2015. HEPS in 2014 was 1536, it is likely that HEPS will be 307 cents lower than that. In other words, from 1229 cents per share or lower than that. Which means that at the TOP end of the range, the stock will trade (after the results on March the 3rd) on an earnings multiple of at least 12.5, possibly much higher if the earnings are likely to be much worse than that. And this excludes the pending Nigerian fine.


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MTN Nigeria court update

25-JAN-16

So to MTN quickly. The company stuck out a SENS message, as we said, that had a marked impact on their share price. The stock surged 9.21 percent on the day, yet there hasn't been much to cheer about this year, the stock is still down over 7 percent year to date and nearly 40 percent lower over the last 12 months. The stock reached a 52 week low of just over 113 Rand a share last week, which meant that Vodacom had, with one quarter of a subscriber base, a bigger market capitalisation. For obvious reasons we know why the MTN share price has fallen, the company has been under the pump for the pending fine in Nigeria. A little bit of "good" news, the market interpreting this announcement that way. So here is a copy paste, titled Further update on the fine imposed on MTN Nigeria:


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Potencial Cameroon fine

22-JAN-16

MTN was out with another bit of bad news during the day, the authorities in Cameroon suggesting that the company is involved in bribery, along with the other operator, Orange. And guess what, they are seeking to hit the company with another fine. No fine yet and MTN haven't been given any official documentation so they haven't released a SENS, that didn't stop the stock tumbling over 4% yesterday. We certainly are in the midst of a terrible storm for the company, the Nigerian overhang of a court case pending and now this, it really feels awful. And by the way, we certainly called this one wrong in the short term. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Currently trading on eMpTyN. We will continue to evaluate and for the time being continue to suggest that one holds the line here, uncertainty always leads to selling and with lower prices the faith is lost. As Byron pointed out yesterday, MTN has 4 times as many subscribers compared to Vodacom but now has a lower market cap. At the moment MTN finds themselves on the wrong end of the stick as far as developing markets are concerned, the wrong ones. Emerging market stocks, the market tells you those are finished.


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MTN Nigeria update, Ghana licence granting

18-DEC-15

OK, very important news on the MTN front near the end of the market close yesterday. A SENS that I am going to copy and paste the important bits: "shareholders are advised that all factors having a bearing on the matter have been thoroughly and carefully considered including a review of the circumstances leading to the fine and the subsequent letters received from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)." OK, as you would expect from the company, take legal advice and then proceed, what to do from here though?


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