South Africa-based mobile group MTN has announced that net profit for the first half of 2009 jumped 30.6% year-on-year to ZAR9.09 billion (USD1.16 billion). Revenues for the six months ended 30 June totalled ZAR57.27 billion, up 24% from ZAR46.13 billion a year earlier. Group earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up 25% year-on-year, to reach ZAR24.5 billion at the end of June 2009. Operating expenses for the period grew to ZAR8.06 billion, up from ZAR5.89 billion a year earlier. The group added around 29.2 million net new customers over the twelve month period, ending June 2009 with 103.2 million mobile customers.
MTN, which operates in more than 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East, is currently holding talks with India’s Bharti Airtel regarding a potential merger of operations and mutual shareholding agreement. In its H109 results press release the company stated: ‘The potential transaction between Bharti and MTN would create a leading telecoms group, aligning Bharti’s market leading Indian business with MTN’s market leading African and Middle Eastern operations… The rationale for the transaction is compelling and includes diversification and synergistic benefits as well as addressing the objective of becoming one of the pre-eminent emerging-market telecoms companies [in the world].’