MTN Group moved closer to achieving an ambition to exit markets in the Middle East after accepting an offer for its Afghanistan business, a revelation made during its H1 results statement where it recorded increases in revenue and profit.
The move to divest MTN Afghanistan is part of a group strategy to focus on its operations in Africa which has been underway since 2020. MTN did not divulge the buyer, simply noting it had accepted a binding offer: Reuters reported this to be around $35 million.
MTN noted since March 2020, when it started refocusing its business, ZAR15.8 billion ($976.5 million) had been raised from asset sales. This includes selling operating units and physical infrastructure.
In a move which could yield further fundraising, MTN is in talks with investors over its soon-to-be spun-off financial technology business, a process it expects to be completed by the end of the year.
MTN noted it made significant network investments during H1. CEO Ralph Mupita said it had accelerated these during the period, including buying 4G and 5G-suitable spectrum in South Africa and Nigeria.
Operationally, the executive noted MTN had seen a “particularly strong” growth in data revenue during H1 highlighting increases in its units in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and South Africa.
He also pointed to a 31.5 per cent increase in transaction volume for its financial technology businesses, though added the “introduction of fintech taxes in some markets slowed revenue growth in Q2, but we remain encouraged by the ecosystem growth as users, agents and merchants continued to grow healthily during the period”.
For H1 the operator group’s revenue was ZAR97.5 billion, up from ZAR86.7 billion, with profit attributable to equity holders of ZAR8 billion compared with ZAR2.7 billion in H1 2021.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back