MTN to focus on Africa; Will exit Middle East

MTN has announced that it was focusing its strategy on pan-African market and therefore will be exiting the Middle East market.

“As part of our ongoing portfolio review, we believe the group is best served to focus in the future on our pan-African strategy. We will therefore be exiting the Middle East in an orderly manner over the medium term. As a first step we are in advanced discussions to sell our 75% stake in MTN Syria,” said MTN Group president and chief executive officer Rob Shuter.

MTN reported service revenue growth of 9.4% to R80 billion and EBITDA growth of 10.9% to R42 billion as efficiency initiatives saw its profit margins continue to improve. Headline earnings per share after non-operational impacts grew by 54%, operating free cash flow increased by 117.8% and ROE improved further to 14.1%.

“MTN’s first half performance affirmed the resilience of our people and business model as we delivered strong results against the backdrop of unprecedented socio- and macroeconomic uncertainty and challenges,” said Rob Shuter.

Inspired by the group’s belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, MTN added 11 million subscribers in the first six months of the year to reach a total base of 262 million. By end June 2020, MTN had 102 million active data users and 38 million active Mobile Money users.

Despite lockdown restrictions impacting network rollout, MTN Group invested R10 billion in capital expenditure across markets and brought a further 54 million people into 3G and 4G coverage. The focus on affordability of data saw the average rate per megabyte reduced by 34%.

The group made progress on the asset realisation programme, concluding the disposal of the tower company investments in Ghana and Uganda for R8.8 billion.

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