MTN Group divested its majority stake in its Yemen business as the operator presses-on with plans to exit the Middle East and focus on its core African markets.

In a statement to investors MTN noted it had transferred its 82.8 per cent shareholding in MTN Yemen to Emerald International Investment, a subsidiary of minority stakeholder Zubar Investment Center, ending its interest in the business.

MTN wrote-off the remaining value of the unit in H1, with a sizeable impairment charge. At the time it noted the political environment in Yemen and a risk of sanctions meant “a sale is not considered feasible”, adding “the recoverable amount of the cash-generating unit is considered to be negligible”.

After the company was forced to abandon its division in Syria in somewhat chaotic circumstances following a row with authorities, MTN outlined several times it intended to depart Yemen and Afghanistan in an orderly manner.

In its statement today (18 November) MTN CEO Ralph Mupita said the decision “to exit Yemen was driven by a need to simplify the portfolio and focus our limited resources on executing a pan-African strategy”.

The operator added the Yemen unit was due to renew its 2G operating licence at the end of 2021.