MTN Group raises $140m from assets sale – Punch Newspapers

Ife Ogunfuwa

MTN Group says it raised a total of R2.1bn (about $140m) from the disposal of its assets in Africa.

The company also announced 10.2 per cent growth in revenue in the first half of the year ending June 30, 2019.

The telecom company, in its interim half-year financial report released on Thursday, stated that it had disposed of its shareholding loan in ATC Ghana to American Tower Corp for R900m.

It added that an investment fund in Amadeus and Travelstart, a booking platform were disposed at R1.2bn.

Giving updates on the company’s divestment plans, the MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter said, “Within three months of announcing our asset realisation programme, which is targeting at least R15bn over the next few years, we delivered R2.1bn in proceeds.”

The South African telecom group had earlier this year announced $1bn divestment programme over the next three years in order to focus on its core business and high-growth markets on the continent.

MTN had said its investment in tower companies and e-commerce platforms like African online retailer Jumia valued at R40bn rand were not long-term strategic assets and would be sold.

The telco also plans to sell its minority stake in Botswana’s Mascom for $300m.

Speaking on the future plans of the company, Shuter said that the company would inaugurate its instant messaging app that had been integrated with payment feature, Ayoba, and unveil a music streaming product in Nigeria in the coming months.

The company, according to him, will continue with the rollout of 4G network across the country and make significant progress in its fintech business by leveraging its distribution network to offer a range of transfer and payment services.

The report stated, “We plan to roll out Ayoba in Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Liberia in the second half of the year. We will also integrate payments into the Ayoba service as part of our broadening of the fintech business, as well as integrate Ayoba into MTN segmented offers.

“After launching our time-based music streaming service MusicTime in South Africa in December 2018, we plan to launch this next in Nigeria and Ghana.”

The telecom group, with operations in Nigeria and 20 other markets attributed its growth in profit to increase in its number of subscribers data users and mobile money customers.

Commenting on the results, Shuter said the group recorded 3.3 per cent growth in the number of subscribers in six months to reach 240 million subscribers while its data users grew by 4.5 per cent to 78.5 million during the same period.

Shuter identified the listing of MTN Nigeria on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the listing of the company’s e-commerce joint venture, Jumia on the New York Stock Exchange as landmark achievements.

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