MTN eyes $1B asset sale, plans digital drive - Mobile World Live

MTN eyes $1B asset sale, plans digital drive

07 MAR 2019

MTN Group announced plans to sell ZAR15 billion ($1 billion) worth of assets over the next three years, including its stake in its Botswana joint venture, and to launch a barrage of new services across its markets.

As was widely reported, following a strategic review of its portfolio MTN agreed to sell its majority stake in Botswana’s largest operator Mascom to JV partner Econet Wireless for $300 million.

Other units and investments up for sale were not detailed, however the company said its interests in e-commerce and tower ventures had been identified as non long-term investments and will be sold “over time”.

Cash raised from its various divestments will be used to reduce debt.

In a statement issued alongside its annual results report, the operator said the strategic shift aims to “reduce risk, improve returns and simplify MTN.”

As it disposes of some interests, CEO Rob Shuter (pictured) said the operator group would now place a “major focus on fintech, digital enterprise and wholesale”.

Diversified
Later this year, the company plans to launch a music streaming service and instant messaging applications in its markets. It is also set to expand mobile money services to Nigeria, Afghanistan, Sudan and revive the service in South Africa.

MTN abandoned its mobile money service in South Africa in 2016, citing a lack of commercial viability. By the end of 2019 MTN Money will be available in 18 markets.

Income
The company revealed net profit of ZAR9.6 billion in 2018, up from ZAR4.6 billion in 2017, following a number of one-off items.

Shuter said the company: “Delivered a very encouraging performance in 2018, meeting our targets for growth.”

“We continue to benefit from the demographic dividend in the countries in which we operate and, while the markets remain challenging, we continue to target service revenue growth ahead of inflation.”

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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