MTN is a leading telecoms provider in emerging markets, primarily in Africa. It is perhaps best known as the #2 mobile service in South Africa (behind Vodacom) with almost 30m subscribers (equivalent to around 31% local share). However MTN also has extensive operations in more than 20 other countries across Africa and the Middle East, including high risk nations like South Sudan and Yemen. Combined subscriber numbers were 233m by the end of 2018, including over 52m in Nigeria and over 43m in Iran through a joint venture with local operator Irancell. It is the #1 operator in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon, #2 in Iran and the Ivory Coast. It is expected to issue an IPO of its Nigerian subsidiary during 2018. The group was fined around $4bn in 2015 by Nigerian regulators for delays in disconnecting users with unregistered SIM cards, leading to the resignation of group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa. The fine was later renegotiated to $900m; Dabenga was eventually replaced in 2017 by Rob Shuter. Yet problems in Nigeria continue to plague the group. In 2018, it was ordered by the Nigerian government to return $8bn supposedly transferred out of the country in breach of foreign exchange regulations. MTN denies any wrongdoing, and a settlement was eventually reached for just $53m. It was also fined $2bn in back-taxes. The business was formed in South Africa in 1994 as M-Cell, and has gradually pieced together its continental footprint through a series of acquisitions of regional providers and local frequency licenses. Combined revenues for 2018 were almost ZAR 135bn ($10.1bn), of which South Africa and Nigeria each contributed around 30%. Net profit was around $1.1bn.
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Capsule checked 27th April 2018
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