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MTN’s voice, data revenue grows by 21.43%

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MTN Nigeria’s voice and data revenues grew by N192.01bn in the first nine months of 2021 to N1.09tn, compared to the corresponding period in 2020.

The telecommunications company said its total revenue rose to N1.21tn in the period under review from N975.76bn in the same period a year earlier.

Its revenue from fintech witnessed a continued rise, as it grew from N32.37bn in the first nine months of 2020 to N50.24bn this year.

Commenting on the company’s growth in the third quarter of 2021, the Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, said, “In the first nine months of 2021, we continued to enhance the resilience of the business, improve our performance and make good progress towards our Ambition 2025 strategy.

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“Creating shared value has become a strategic priority within the Ambition 2025 framework. As a result, we continue to deepen our support for and partnerships in Nigeria.”

He said the telecom ban in some locations in the nation had slightly affected some of the company’s business activities.

Toriola added, “The resilience we are building in the business is reflected in our performance, demonstrating our ability to achieve continued growth despite the ongoing impact of SIM registration and activation restrictions on subscriber growth.

“While our overall subscriber numbers have continued to decline over the last quarter, this has been at a reduced rate, and we have seen our data subscriber numbers return to growth, increasing by 2.5 million.

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“We expect the decline in the overall subscriber base to bottom out and return to positive net additions in Q4 2021 as we progressively ramp up our SIM registration and activation infrastructure while adopting and aligning with the new regulations.”

He added that the company’s service revenue had increased by 23.7 per cent, ahead of the country’s rate of inflation.

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Business & Finance

Analyst: Bitcoin needs to break $64,000 to run to new all-time highs

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Bitcoin (BTC) stayed rangebound on Nov. 5 as fresh analysis argued that breaking $64,000 would produce a new all-time high.

Data showed BTC/USD drawing little attention as it tracked sideways around $61,000.

After multiple days of such moves, the focus from analysts remained firmly on altcoins as multiple tokens continued to rally to fresh record highs.

For Michaël van de Poppe, however, it would take surprisingly little for BTC price action itself to flip bullish.

In his latest YouTube update on the day, Van de Poppe argued that $64,000 would provide a springboard for bulls should BTC/USD break through it convincingly. The level has held as resistance throughout the week, surviving multiple breakout attempts.

“We’re still chopping between $58,000 and $64,000 and that $64,000 area here is the crucial area that we should be breaking through if we want to get a new all-time high,” he summarized.

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He added that should such an event take place, the next resistance zone would not hit until Bitcoin had cleared $72,000.

As Cointelegraph reported, November was already expected to be a month of extremes — including a return to the mid-$50,000 zone before ending on a high that could top $98,000.

For Van de Poppe, however, the likelihood of $98,000 being the “worst-case scenario” monthly close now looked unlikely.

“I think it’s going to be quite hard to get to that level and I think we might be realizing ourselves that the cycle might take longer than the previous four-year halving cycles,” he said.

A survey by PlanB, responsible for the minimum monthly close series, meanwhile revealed that the majority of respondents believe $288,000 will hit before the start of 2022.

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Related: Bitcoin retests support, with trader forecasting BTC price dip to $55K

While perhaps hard to imagine at current prices, this ties in with multiple observations, which place 2021 entirely in line with previous bull run years 2013 and 2017.

As such, an order of magnitude increase for this four-year cycle’s top cannot be ruled out, market participants argue.

“Mid-Dec to end-Jan still my highest probability window,” popular Twitter account TechDev, well known for such comparisons, wrote Thursday.

“Bet on the story the cycle tells you until it tells you a different one.”

TechDev previously described a cycle top of up to $300,000 as “programmed.”

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Zenith Bank posts N180 billion profit before tax in nine months amid headwinds

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Zenith Bank Plc has posted a profit before tax of N180 billion for the nine months ended September 30 amid headwinds.

The Group’s unaudited nine months financial results presented to the Nigerian Exchange Limited revealed this.

The results were presented on Sunday in Lagos.

The PBT reflected a 1 per cent growth over the N177 billion recorded in the comparative period of 2020, notwithstanding the challenging macroeconomic environment, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, the results showed a 2 per cent increase in gross earnings to N519 billion from N509 billion recorded in the same period of 2020, attributable to growth in current account maintenance fees, as well as fees from electronic products.

The financial statement also said despite continuing economic uncertainties, the Group grew its net earnings through a reduction in the cost of funds, while keeping the cost of risk flat, which strengthened earnings per share by 1 per cent to N5.11 billion.

Similarly, the Group achieved a 9 per cent growth in interest income from loans and advances on the back of an increase in gross loans of 9 per cent year-to-date and enhanced efficiency, resulting in a 21 per cent drop in interest expense to N74 billion from N94 billion.

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It also showed that the growth in net interest income of 4 per cent rose to N235 billion from N225 billion recorded in the comparative period of 2020.

Total assets also increased by 3 per cent to N8.8 trillion in the current period, while total deposits grew by 13 per cent to close at N6.0 trillion from N5.3 trillion as at December 2020, with a substantial contribution from retail deposits, the statement also showed.

As a result of the focused drive to increase retail deposits in the past three years, there was a decrease in the Group’s cost of funds by 35 per cent to 1.4 per cent from 2.2 per cent year-on-year.

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For the year’s final quarter, the management’s outlook remained positive, buoyed by a declining inflationary trend, expected increase in foreign exchange inflows, and improvement in oil production, as the Group focused on increasing its retail market share, consolidating its leadership position in the corporate segment and maintaining a robust balance sheet.

In recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank received several awards including being voted as Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria in the World Finance Banking Awards 2021, Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020.

Also Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021 and Best in Corporate Governance Financial Services Africa 2020 and 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom among many others have been won by the bank.

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Economy

African Union chief calls for friendlier business climate, foster investment

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The African Union Chairperson, Moussa Mahamat, has called for a business-friendly climate to promote private sector investment.

Mr Mahamat, speaking at the formal unveiling of the Ecobank Pan-African Centre in Lagos, said the project is a testament to what can be done if the government provides an enabling climate for companies to grow.

“Ecobank was born out of the idea among West African businesspeople who are determined to provide the African continent with a homegrown financial institution,” said Mr Mahamat. “It has shown exactly what can be achieved by the African private sector when they come together in genuine collaborative and joint efforts.”

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“Again, it has also shown that it is possible when government creates enabling environment for the private sector to thrive,” he continued.

Mr Mahamat also stressed the need for active engagement between the public and business sectors in Africa for economic equality.

Speaking at the event, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the state would continue to foster an atmosphere that promotes business efficiency and encourages foreign direct investment.

He also added that the facility has a strong link that would help the state’s Smart City initiative and modernise infrastructure.

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“This Pan-African Centre is, indeed, an intelligent building designed with energy efficiency and is one of the things we need in Nigeria. … It is a state-of-the-art building focused on environmental sustainability and I am sure that from what I have seen around, it is redefining building and infrastructural development,” said the governor.

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