Mobile operator, MTN, is exiting the Middle East, and will now focus on African operations.
Announcing its half year results ending June, MTN said the company is simplifying its portfolio and will let go of the Middle East operations and has put 75% stake of MTN Syria up for sale.
CEO Rob Shuter says: “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.”
In the period under review, MTN added 11 million subscribers to reach a total base of 262 million, saying it was inspired by the group’s belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.
Shuter says by end June 2020, MTN had 102 million active data users and 38 million active Mobile Money users.
He also says despite lock-down restrictions impacting network roll out, “MTN Group invested R10 billion in capital expenditure across our 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 mobile network group also revealed that its asset realisation programme was bearing fruit after the disposal of the tower company investments in Ghana and Uganda for R8.8 billion.
For the period, MTN did not declare an interim dividend citing the impact of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic saying the company will consider a final dividend should conditions warrant.
Shuter explained: “While we expect the remainder of the year to be shaped by the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, we believe that MTN will remain comparatively resilient and is poised to sustain its growth over the medium term.”