MTN group president and CEO Rob Shuter to step down in March 2021. Telecom giant posts strong 2019 results

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Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

Mobile telecommunications giant MTN announced on Wednesday the group president and CEO Rob Shuter will be stepping down from his role at the end of his contract in March 2021.

“The board thanks Rob for the contribution he has made, and continues to make, to MTN. The succession process will be concluded during the year, enabling a seamless handover,” the multinational said in a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.

MTN group chief technology and IT officer Charles Molapisi has been appointed to the group executive committee and the fixed contract of the group chief operations officer, Jens Schulte-Bockum, has been extended until 31 March 2022, the company added.

“We are well positioned for growth. Guided by our well-defined BRIGHT strategy, we are building our growth strategy on our digital operator model while optimizing efficiencies, capex and cashflow,” Shuter, the group CEO, said.

He said following data price reductions in South Africa and Nigeria in 2019, the company expects price elasticity to improve data revenue growth in 2020, supported by expanded 4G coverage in Nigeria and across the group.

“We will continue to scale up our fintech and digital services as well as grow our enterprise and wholesale businesses.

“We have maintained our service revenue, EBITDA margin, capex intensity and ROE targets and increased our asset disposal target by a further R25 billion over the medium term. We also now target a holding company leverage ratio at below 2x.

“We will use 2020 to implement our succession process and ensure a seamless handover to the new group president and CEO whilst maintaining our operational execution.

“Inspired to harness the pioneering spirit that has built MTN over the last 25 years, we remain committed to delivering on our strategy in a more agile way in close collaboration with our many partners, with whom we are #GoodTogether,” Shuter added.

Meanwhile, MTN has posted very strong 2019 results. It added 18 million new customers to reach a total of 251 million, and increased its data users by 17 million to hit 95 million while its fintech customers went from 7 million to 35 million. In addition, the group service revenue increased by 9,8% to R141,8 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) expanded by 13,6% to R53,4 billion.

“The holding company leverage ratio improved to 2,2x, which is well within the group’s guidance range of 2,0 to 2,5x, and we reduced our capex intensity to 17,5% from 19,3%, indicating greater efficiency in deploying assets. Driven by the strong earnings performance, operating cashflow increased by 18% and the ROE increased from 11,5% in 2018 to 14,3% in 2019 on an IAS17 basis,” the company said.

MTN said the results were supported by double-digit growth in service revenue by both MTN Nigeria and MTN Ghana. The performance of MTN South Africa was impacted by economic pressure, new data usage rules and changes in recognition criteria for roaming revenue from Cell C due to delayed payments under the networking roaming agreement.

“In 2019, the 25th anniversary of MTN Group, we delivered commercial momentum across our operations as well as great progress in our strategy and strong financial results, despite challenging trading conditions.

“We added 18 million customers to reach a total of 251 million and increased our data users by 17 million to 95 million and our fintech customers by 7 million to 35 million. This growth is central to our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. We also saw improvements in customer experience, network quality and market share across the group,” MTN said.

Simon Ateba

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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