MTN Expects to Report Full-Year Earnings at Least 20% Higher

(Bloomberg) -- MTN Group Ltd. said full-year earnings rose as Africa’s largest wireless carrier by subscribers shrugs off an ongoing tax dispute in Nigeria to report growth across its 21 markets.

Earnings per share, excluding some one-time items, were at least 20 percent higher than the 1.82 rand in 2017, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement Monday, without giving further detail. The stock reversed gains to trade 1.2 percent lower as of 11:28 a.m. in South Africa.

“There were a lot of once-offs in 2017 so the market was expecting at least 20 percent,” Ruhan du Plessis, an analyst at Avior Capital Markets in Cape Town, said by phone. “MTN has said it will give more detail closer to the time, but there is not enough detail in today’s announcement to get too positive.”

The mobile-phone company is facing a Nigerian court hearing later this week over an allegation it owes $2 billion in taxes in its biggest market, which it denies.

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