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MTN announces possible exit from three West African markets

Friday, 12 May 2023 14:27
MTN announces possible exit from three West African markets

(Ecofin Agency) - MTN Group is one of the largest telecommunications companies in Africa along with Airtel Africa, Orange, and Vodacom. The South Africa-based company has 291 million mobile subscribers across 19 markets. 

MTN Group plans to exit three West African markets in the medium term. In its quarterly update for Q1-2023, the group said it was considering a takeover offer from Axian Telecom for its subsidiaries in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Liberia.

As we are at an early stage of deliberations, we emphasize that any process of this nature will entail extensive engagements with stakeholders who will be appropriately informed as and when the evaluation process has materially progressed,” the group informs.  

This initiative is in line with MTN's Ambition 2025 strategy, which is to optimize its portfolio.  As of March 31, 2023, the combined subscriber base of MTN Guinea, MTN Guinea-Bissau, and MTN Liberia was approximately 6.1 million. The three subsidiaries contributed just 0.7% of the group’s Q1-2023 EBITDA. 

The partial West African exit is announced as the group is finalizing the Middle East exit it began in 2020. By 2021, MTN had already exited the Syrian and Yemeni markets. In November 2022, it announced an agreement with Lebanese company M1 New Ventures (M1) to sell its subsidiary in Afghanistan for $35 million. However, it decided to remain in Iran where it holds a 49% minority stake in Irancell.

If the partial West African exit goes through, it will allow MTN to focus on its core business in Africa to simplify its structure and reduce its exposure to the riskiest markets. Axian Telecom, meanwhile, continues to expand in the African telecom market. The company acquired MIC Tanzania, which includes the operators Tigo Tanzania PLC and Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel), in April 2022.

Isaac K. Kassouwi



Public Management

ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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