MTN Full-Year Earnings Gain as Much as 25% on Nigeria Disposal

MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest mobile-phone operator, said full-year earnings per share gained as much as 25 percent following the sale of its Nigerian towers business to local operator IHS Holding Ltd.

Headline earnings per share, which exclude one-time items, increased as much as 15 percent to 16.23 rand ($1.23) in 2014, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Attributable earnings per share were between 15 percent and 25 percent higher, or 16.79 rand to 18.25 rand.

IHS, Africa’s largest independent phone tower company, agreed to buy 9,151 Nigerian towers from MTN in September. The deal was valued at about $2 billion, according to two people familiar with the transaction. MTN has about 219 million customers in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East.

MTN shares declined as much as 2.9 percent and were 0.9 percent lower at 211.40 rand as of 3:25 p.m. in Johannesburg. The stock is down 4.3 percent this year, valuing the company at 391 billion rand.