MTN amasses R14bn in asset sales

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Rob Shuter, president and CEO of MTN Group.
Rob Shuter, president and CEO of MTN Group.

Pan-African mobile operator MTN on Thursday announced it had amassed R14 billion in 2019 through the sale of non-core assets.

The company said the amount is part of its asset realisation programme, which aims to simplify its portfolio, reduce debt and risk and improve returns, targeting at least R15 billion over three years.

Yesterday, MTN said the R14 billion was raised from the disposals of its stakes in investment fund Amadeus and travel platform Travelstart. The group also sold its shareholder loan in American Tower Company.

In August last year, Rob Shuter, CEO of MTN Group, said MTN was looking to trim its assets in order to focus on core telecoms services.

At the time, Shuter said the mobile operator had already raised $140 million from the sale of several assets in the first six months of 2019.

“So we’re well on track for our R15 billion [target] over three years. What we really want to say to the investment community is that we’ve got a company with very good growth prospects and a very specific plan to simplify and modernise the group,” he told journalists in a conference call.

MTN said it has also concluded an agreement to dispose of its 49% equity holdings in the Ghana and Uganda Tower Company investments to a subsidiary of American Tower Company for $523 million, or about R7.3 billion. This transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020.

It confirmed that MTN Nigeria had completed the redemption of its preference shares with MTN Group in December 2019, receiving an amount of US$315 million.

Shuter explained: “Following the completion of these transactions, MTN will have realised proceeds of approximately R14 billion within the first 12 months of this programme. Realising proceeds from simplifying the group remains a major strategic objective and we expect further progress in this programme in 2020.”

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