Africa’s largest mobile carrier is planning to exit the Middle East market, citing low revenues as well as growing complexities in the environment. MTN will first sell its subsidiaries in Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria, which only contribute 4% to the groups’ EBITDA.
While the company was once optimistic that conflict markets would contribute good earnings once they settle, currency devaluations now require a change of stance.
“We used to say that the conflict markets were not consuming any of our capital and could still be good contributors if the situation turned around. [Due to currency devaluations], they have become small in our lives, but it could be significant in the hand of another company,”MTN CEO Rob Shuter told Bloomberg.
The company will dispose of 49% of its stake in MTN Irancell in the next 3 to 5 years. The company is also looking to sale 75% of its shareholding in MTN Syria, with talks of the deal in their advanced stages.
MTN to Sell its Shareholding in Jumia
MTN is also planning to sell part or the whole of its $243 million worth of shares in Jumia, as part of its asset disposal plan to pay off debt. Shares of Jumia have surged by +288% over the last three months and are up +197% over the last one month, recovering from last year’ all-time low.
In 2019, the company began a drive to dispose of its assets to finance its debt. Troubles with regulators in Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana drove the 3-year $1 billion asset realization program, fuelling the sale of its Ugandan Tower business.