MTN Nigeria Records N740 Billion Forex Losses, Shareholders’ Funds Wiped Out as Turnover Surpasses N1.8 Trillion

MTN Nigeria, the local subsidiary of Africa’s largest mobile network operator, discloses a significant financial downturn with a loss before tax amounting to N177.8 billion, a stark contrast to the N518.8 billion pre-tax profit reported the previous year.

The losses have led to a complete wipe-out of shareholders’ funds.

Forex Woes and Operational Changes Impacting MTN’s Finances

The primary driver behind MTN Nigeria’s unprecedented loss is a substantial foreign currency loss, reaching N740 billion, a notable increase from the N81 billion reported in 2022.

This financial setback marks the company’s first-ever loss since becoming a quoted entity in Nigeria.

The losses are attributed to operational shifts in the Nigerian foreign exchange market, particularly the abolition of the segmented/parallel structure announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Exchange Rate Dynamics and Potential Widening Losses

MTN discloses that the official exchange rate used for its financial reporting is N907.11/$1 as of December 31, 2023.

However, the company suggests that the losses could expand further if the current exchange rate between the naira and dollar persists by the end of March when it publishes its Q1 results.

The liberalization of the forex management in June 2023 resulted in a significant upward movement in the exchange rate, from N461/$1 in December 2022 to N777/US$ by the end of September 2023, leading to higher operational costs.

CEO’s Insights on Business Dynamics and Fintech Momentum

MTN Nigeria’s CEO, Karl Toriola, sheds light on the business dynamics, acknowledging challenges posed by the forex losses and exchange rate fluctuations.

Despite the financial setbacks, Toriola highlights the momentum in the fintech business, with active wallets rising to 3.6 million and an expanding ecosystem demonstrated by the presence of over 293,000 MoMo agents and 197,000 merchants.

Conclusion: Navigating Challenges and Focusing on Fintech Growth

As MTN Nigeria grapples with its first-ever financial loss, attributed to forex challenges and operational shifts, the company remains focused on its fintech business.

The CEO’s optimism regarding the recovery of the fintech sector and the underlying momentum in the ecosystem suggests strategic efforts to navigate challenges and capitalize on growth opportunities in specific business segments.

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