BY EMEKA EJERE

Despite economic headwinds, telecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTNN) has consolidated its status as Nigerias biggest listed company by revenue, with a turnover in the sum of N1.7 trillion for the full-year 2021.

A similar feat was also recorded in the banking sector within the period under review by the leading Pan African Bank lender, Ecobank Nigeria.

The Nigerian operation of South African-owned MTN Group attained the new height after the number of its active data users surged by 1.7 million to 34.3 million, helping income from data sales increase by 55.3 per cent to N516 billion.

According to the full-year financial record of the company, profit before tax (PBT) stood at N436.7 billion, up by 46.1 per cent from the preceding years figure, while profit after tax (PAT) accelerated 45.5 per cent to N298.7 billion.

Nigeria is the biggest market of the MTN Group, responsible for about one-third of its revenue. Relative to its figure for 2020, revenue for last year grew by 22.9 per cent.

In 2020, MTNN, which added 12.2 million subscribers, posted service revenues of N1.3 trillion ($3 billion) and PBT of N298 billion, a milestone widely seen as painting a picture of a company at the height of sector dominance
This increase had lifted the company further to 76.5 million active subscribers in Nigeria in 2020, miles ahead of Airtel, which said in February same year that it had 44.4 million subscribers. MTNs active data users had also increased by 7.4 million, bringing its total number of active data users to 32.6 million as against Airtels 18.8 million active data subscribers.

MTNN had disclosed that its data users increased because of the Covid 19- induced lockdowns as millions of people worked from home, adding that the company was also seeing growth in its mobile money service area.
MTNs Mobile Money (MoMo) service is growing rapidly according to its financial report. It is difficult to know exactly how much MoMo brought in as revenue because alongside MTNs airtime lending service, it is classified as fintech revenue.

However, the MoMos agent network has increased by 259.2%. This growth happened because MTN converted its distribution network which has for years sold airtime to MoMo agents as well. There are now over 395,000 registered MoMo agents in Nigeria, available records show.

In all, fintech revenue for the company for 2020 was N44 million, which is a drop in the bucket compared to revenue from voice and data, the traditional revenue drivers.

For 2020, voice revenue was N897 million, an increase of only 5.9% from the previous year. While it represents the bulk of revenue, its slowing growth over the years points to the fact that voice may not remain the biggest revenue driver for telcos in the coming years, market analysts say.

In line with its strategic priority to create shared value, MTNN conducted its initial public offering in December, when it put up 575 million shares for sale to investors at N169 per unit, about two and a half years after it listed by introduction on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd (NGX).

Commenting on the development, MTN Nigerias Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, had said: The success and growth of MTN Nigeria is intrinsically linked to that of Nigeria and Nigerians. Therefore, we are very excited to offer Nigerians the opportunity to own shares in MTN Nigeria.

Our journey to becoming the largest network in Nigeria has been humbling, but we still have a long way to go. There is much more to do to support the evolution of an inclusive digital economy, and we continue to invest as we evolve into a truly digital operator, capable of seamlessly integrating value across the evolving telecommunications, digital and fintech segments.

In November, the wireless carrier secured a permit from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to start a payment service bank that will give it the latitude to offer many of the services performed by commercial banks, the notable exceptions being disallowance from granting credit and offering foreign exchange functions.
During the year, our total contribution to the government through direct and indirect taxes was N669.2 billion, up 83.4 per cent,

representing approximately 40 per cent of our total revenue, Toriola also said while commenting on the 2021 performance.
Ecobank also posted an unprecedented profit of over 300 per cent in q4 ended December 31, 2022. This impressive performance trails the banks many legal battles with alleged debtor.

As its shareholders are warming up and expectations grow for higher yield at the close of business in year 2021, the banks lawyers are busy preparing for the epic legal battle.
Meanwhile, details show the bank reported a massive increase in its profit for the year 2021 to N143 billion, a 324% jump from N32.4 billion reported same period the previous year.

The 2021 result translates to a strong recovery by the bank after suffering a huge set back from COVID in 2020 which saw gross earnings at N841 billion and a negative movement along the line leading to a dip in profit before tax by 57% to N66.6 billion.

The bank rebound in 2021 delivering a huge gross earning which increased by 13% to hit N952 billion and a revenue increase by 11% to N712 billion. The bank hinged the strong performance on the creative adoption of digital banking services as well as innovation.

The result showcases an impressive performance on the back of rise in different income categories whilst also cutting expenses relating to business operations causing the profit before tax to increase significantly compared to what was reported same period in the previous year.

Further details show that Interest income improved by 13 per cent to close at N598 billion from the previous years N531 billion while the income expenses increased by 19 per cent to close at N219 billion, reflecting an increase in net interest income by 9 per cent at N378 billion during the period against N348 billion
Its total non-operating income grew by 13 per cent to close at N333 billion from N295 billion. This was largely driven by other operating income which was spiked by a whopping 63 per cent at N23 billion as well as fees and commission income which rose by 26 per cent to close at N204 billion during the period.
Operating income also grew by 11 per cent to N712 billion against N641 billion the previous year.

At the close of business, deposits from customers was up 13% to N 8.3 billion while
total assets rose by 11% to N 11.6 billion.
The banks loans and advances to customers up by 10% to N4 billion.

The bank is currently valued at N140 billion and currently trades at N12.10 share price.
The bank motivated its workforce by also spent more on its workers as the staff expense increased by 4 per cent to N184 billion while other operating expenses also followed by a 2 per cent rise to N189 billion to reach operating expenses valued at N418 billion during the period.

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