MTN set to pull out of Middle East, cites unstable operating environments

MTN Group says plans are afoot for the divestment of its investments in the Middle East, in order to strategically focus on the African continent. Meanwhile, MTN cited the volatile nature of the operating environments as part of the reason for the divestiture.

MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Rob Shuter, who made this known during a recent chat with the press, said: “The Middle East environment is becoming increasingly complex and it contributes less to the group’s earnings.’’

According to the group boss, who thinks that the group will do well by concentrating on its Pan-African operations, the divestments in the Middle East region will be carried out in gradual stages, with its three consolidated subsidiaries in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Syria earmarked to be sold first.

“These markets only contribute about 4% to the group’s earnings before interest, depreciation, taxation, and amortisation,” Shuter said.

He disclosed that the group is in advanced talks to sell its stake in MTN Syria to the minority shareholder, TeleInvest, who has 25% stake in the firm, adding that it will also dispose of its 49% stake in MTN Irancell, one of its largest markets.

MTN said it will be leaving the Middle East, starting with the sales of its 75% stake in MTN Syria.

The African telecom giant noted that it would be left with 17 subsidiaries in Africa, after pulling out its total portfolio from the Middle East.


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