JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng (AFP) – African telecoms giant MTN posted an 11 percent rise in profits in the first half of 2013 boosted by an increase in subscribers to 201.5 million, the company said Wednesday.
Profit jumped in the first half of the year to 12.5 billion rand ($1.3 billion) from 10.6 billion rand ($1.1 billion ), the company announced.
The financial results were "positively affected by the 16.3 percent decline in the average rand versus US dollar rate," the firm said in a statement.
Despite tariff cuts in South Africa and Nigeria, MTN's largest market, revenue in the first half jumped 9.8 percent to 65.2 billion rands ( $6.5 billion), driven mainly by data services.
The group's subscribers increased 6.5 percent, to 201.5 million, "supported by competitive offerings and increased network capacity," the Johannesburg-headquartered company said.
MTN notched the new subscriber growth despite disconnections in its largest market Nigeria where it had to cut off 3.2 million customers in compliance with mandatory regulator-driven registration requirements.
It now has a total of 52.7 million customers in Africa's most populous country. With 42 million subscribers, Iran is MTN's second largest market.
The mobile giant which operates in 22 African and Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, said it expects to add a total of 21.1 million new subscribers this year.
Data subscribers grew by nearly 30 percent to 65.4 million while data traffic ballooned by 55.7 percent.
"Our operations in South Africa and Nigeria were the biggest contributors to data revenue growth, whilst those in Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Benin also delivered a strong performance," it said in a statement.
Headline earnings per share grew by 22 percent to 654 cents ($0.66) while attributable earnings per share rose 19 percent to 685 cents ($0,69).