from SAVIOUS KWINIKA in Johannesburg, South Africa
JOHANNESBURG – THE MTN Group is to spend at least R24 billion (US$1,367 billion) to bolster its network in light of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on operations.
This is an increase from R22 billion the company had projected in its trading update issue in the first quarter of 2020 (Q1 2020).
The continent’s biggest mobile network operator disclosed the latest figure on Thursday as it presented its results for the first six months of the year ended June 30.
Rob Shuter, the MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, said they had already invested R10,1 billion in networks, focusing on capacity and resilience as COVID-19 lockdown constraints impacted network rollout.
The company stated it had made meaningful progress in strengthening its financial position and maintained a healthy liquidity position, in defiance of the health crisis.
“As mentioned, in order to sustain this, particularly in context of COVID-19 impacts and the material uncertainty these present, the board has decided not to declare a 2020 interim dividend,” MTN added.
However, should conditions warrant a final dividend, it stated, this would be no more than 390c per share, aligned to the current dividend policy.
Overall, Shuter expressed satisfaction with the company’s performance despite the COVID-19 challenges.
Service revenue for the half year was up by 9,4 percent.
“MTN delivered strong results for the period against the backdrop of difficult trading conditions, exacerbated by the unprecedented socio and macroeconomic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shuter said.
– CAJ News