Amid Forex Turmoil, MTN Nigeria Plc Reports Historic Loss Of Over One Hundred Billion Naira

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MTN Nigeria Plc has disclosed a staggering pre-tax loss of N177.8 billion for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, marking a drastic downturn from the N518.8 billion pre-tax profit reported in the previous year.

This loss has led to a complete erasure of the shareholders’ funds, an occurrence that has jolted the investor community and raised questions about the company’s future resilience.

 

The telecom giant attributed this significant financial downturn to a massive foreign currency loss, which soared to N740 billion in 2023, up from a loss of N81 billion in 2022. This marks the first instance of a loss for MTN Nigeria since its listing on the Nigerian stock exchange, signaling a challenging period for the company amidst turbulent economic conditions.

“The loss was significantly due to operational changes to the Nigerian Foreign exchange market, including the abolishment of the segmented/parallel structure announced by CBN in June 2023,” MTN Nigeria explained in a statement. The company also noted its adherence to the official NAFEM exchange rate of N907.11/$1 as of December 31, 2023, hinting at a potential widening of losses should the current exchange rate persist by the end of March 2024 when its Q1 results will be published.

Despite the financial setback, MTN Nigeria reported a revenue increase of 22.69% year-over-year, with total revenue rising to N2.469 trillion in 2023 from N2.012 trillion in 2022. However, the net foreign exchange loss of N740.434 billion, an increase of over 804% compared to the previous year, overshadowed operational gains, culminating in a loss after tax of N137.021 billion, a stark contrast to the N348.727 billion profit after tax in 2022.

Amidst these financial headwinds, MTN Nigeria has decided not to propose a final dividend payment for the year, given the net loss recorded. This decision follows the approval of interim dividends amounting to N117.48 billion in July 2023. The company’s stock has also experienced a downturn, closing at N222.90 on the last trading day of February, representing a 15.6% year-to-date loss for shareholders.

MTN Nigeria’s challenging year was further compounded by the harsh economic environment, characterized by rising inflation, currency devaluation, and foreign exchange shortages. “2023 witnessed a very challenging operating environment characterized by rising inflation, currency devaluation and foreign exchange shortages, complicated by geopolitical disruptions and cash shortages in Q1 arising from a redesign of the naira,” the company remarked, citing the inflation rate’s climb to 28.9% in December 2023, the highest in 18 years.

The telecom giant also highlighted the detrimental impact of the removal of the fuel subsidy in May 2023, which led to significant increases in fuel prices, thereby exacerbating the cost of doing business in Nigeria. The adoption of a more liberal foreign exchange management system by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023, which introduced the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ model, resulted in a 96.7% depreciation of the Naira against the US dollar, further straining MTN Nigeria’s operational costs.

As MTN Nigeria navigates through these turbulent times, the focus remains on maintaining strong free cash flow generation and adjusting to the evolving economic landscape, with an eye towards recovery and sustainable growth in the face of unprecedented challenges.

overlay-cleverFor more information, readers are encouraged to consult financial analyses and updates directly from MTN Nigeria and related financial news sources.

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