MTN Ghana has been the most traded equity on the Ghana Stock Exchange since it did the biggest Initial Public Offer in the more than 30 year history of the nation’s bourse. This was confirmed by the company’s CEO Selorm Adedevoh at the 2021 edition of its annual Editors Form, held in Accra recently
More importantly the company’s share price performance since then has justified the investments made by equity investors who bought into the IPO, delivering returns that have beaten all other genres of portfolio investment as well as the average returns provided by the stockmarket itself. By August 20, MTN Ghana’s shares were trading at GHc1.20 which is about 70 percent higher than the IPO price of 75 pesewas. Even more instructively after the share price fell to 64 pesewas as at the end of 2020 in line with the tail end of the longest and deepest bear market in the GSE’s history, it has since been the biggest driver of the stockmarket’s ferocious recovery this year, with its share price rising by 96.89 percent year to date
This more than doubles even the strong share price recovery across the board during which the GSE Composite Index – which measures the (weighted) average change in the prices of all the listed equities – and which has climbed by a sturdy 41.89 percent, since the beginning of this year. Added to this is a dividend yield of a further 12.5 percent derived from MTN Ghana’s generous dividend payout policy under which it paid out 70 percent of its after tax profits for 2020, This was made possible by its extraordinary sustained profitability and accompanying cash flows.
Indeed it is instructive that MTN’s huge capital expenditure (2021 US$207 million) is financed almost entirely by reinvestment of its own cash flow, thereby eliminating interest costs and propping up profitability even further.
That apex is actually one of the biggest ingredients to MTN’s exemplary success as it is combined with innovative product and services design and delivery accompanied by intense marketing. Already the company is partnering six with 6 other multinationals to build a 37,000 kilometer long subsea data cable to serve the African continent and the Middle East region, ultimately aimed at installing the capacity for Ghana to start enjoying 5G services by as early as 2023.
Although they haven’t officially set a date for trials, MTN is prepping and modernizing about 1322 sites for 5G readiness during this and next year.
Impressively MTN already has 73% coverage for 4G in Ghana and plans 607 new 4G sites this year in 2021.
Demand for data has grown by about 100% between March 2020 and March 2021 according to MTN Ghana, indicating that current internet infrastructure will soon be outstripped by demand.
The project dubbed ‘2 Africa’ will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects with the ability to interconnect Europe, the Middle East, and 21 landing stations in 16 African countries, Ghana inclusive.
But long before this project gives MTN yet another head start over the competition it has unveiled its revamped digital plans, dubbed Ambition 2025.
In its strategy, MTN Ghana plans a number of initiatives to consolidate and further extend its leadership in the country’s cyberspace. It outlines a number of values and core strategies it hopes to achieve by the year 2025.
At the centre of these is Chenosis, an about to be introduced API marketplace that will act as an aggregator and exchange for third parties to access. A use case is a company attempting to come into the Ghanaian space and leveraging on Chenosis to easily tap into to build services for their specific use
However, currently MTN’s Ayoba is its super app; an all-in-one communications app offering voice and video calling, games, music, news, entertainment news, and other content.
As at now the app has over 1 million users in Ghana. MTN users in other countries can also access the app and communicate with each other.
MTN is presently having a developer hackathon and plans to offer services through the Ayoba app through the use of micro-apps.
Another key strategy is the integration of its trail blazing Mobile Money platform with the newly introduced Ghana National QR Code platform for merchant payments. Last year, the Government of Ghana introduced the GHQR, a universal QR code platform that allows users to make payments for services with the use of QR codes.
MTN will be integrating with the GHQR platform this August by implementing its first phase of USSD payments.
MTN also plans to introduce another phase where users will be able to scan QR codes and make payments with their mobile money wallets.
With new products and services such as these now being rolled out, MTN’s financial performance stands to get better still which in turn will further drive the GSE’s ongoing bull market and will directly benefit the company’s shareholders who are already enjoying better returns on their investments than virtually any other financial portfolio investors in Ghana.