MTN scraps interim dividend as leaving CEO announces UK job

Mobile operator MTN said in a trading statement for the six-month period ended June 2020, that it expects to report growth in headline earnings per share (HEPS) of between 115% and 125% – or 224 cents to 244 cents.

Considering the HEPS of 195 cents for the corresponding six-month period ended June 2019, MTN said that this translates to a range of 419 cents to 439 cents.

HEPS, it added, benefited from non-operational items for the six months ended June 2020 totalling approximately 46 cents per share, of which more than half related to foreign exchange gains.

MTN said it expects growth in earnings per share (EPS) of between 160% and 170%  – or 406 cents to 432 cents.

EPS includes the benefit from gains amounting to 341 cents on the disposal of the ATC Uganda and ATC Ghana tower joint ventures as announced in March, the group said.

MTN said it has made meaningful progress in strengthening its financial position and maintaining a healthy liquidity position.

“In order to sustain this, and in line with MTN’s capital allocation framework, the board has decided not to declare a 2020 interim dividend in the context of the Covid-19 impacts and the material uncertainties these present.”

It said that should conditions warrant a final dividend, this would be no more than 390 cents per share, aligned to the current dividend policy.

“The key factors to consider will include the general macro-economic environment, the status of cash upstreaming from operating companies and the outlook for the holding company leverage ratio.”

The succession process for the MTN Group CEO role is on track, and MTN said it expects to make an announcement in this regard in the next four to eight weeks.

Current Group CEO Rob Shuter will complete his fixed four-year contract in March 2021 as announced earlier this year and this timing will enable a seamless handover to his successor.

MTN noted the announcement issued on Friday (31 July), by BT Group that Shuter has been appointed as the chief executive officer of BT Enterprise.

“Rob will relocate to the UK and start with BT Group Plc in 2021 after finishing at MTN,” it said.

Read: MTN expects interim earnings jump

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