MTN share slides as currencies hurt sales – profit down as much as 15%

by Janice Kew from Bloomberg
MTN 3 month graph

MTN Group Ltd. shares fell the most in four months after Africa’s largest wireless carrier said first-half profit slid as much as 15 percent as exchange rates hurt sales.

The stock lost 4.8 percent to 202.85 rand at 9:54 a.m. in Johannesburg after dropping as much as 5.9 percent, the biggest intraday decline since March 23. The slide wiped more than 20 billion rand ($1.6 billion) off MTN’s market value.

Earnings per share excluding one-time items declined to a range of 6.20 rand to 6.56 rand in the six months ended June 30, the Johannesburg-based company said Tuesday. Earnings were 7.29 rand a share a year earlier.

USD/ZAR 3 month graph

MTN generated about 27 percent of sales in South Africa during the previous fiscal year, with the rest coming from operations in other markets including Nigeria. The rand fell about 5 percent against the dollar in the first six months of 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

MTN’s stock has declined 8.2 percent this year, compared with a 10 percent gain by Vodacom Group Ltd., the market leader in South Africa.