MTN Wants to Reduce Majority Ownership of its Nigerian Business with Sale of Stakes in IHS Towers
Telecom giants, MTN Group is making plans to sell up to 14% of its ownership in Nigerian businesses as part of its $1 billion three-year asset-disposal plan.
Since initiating the assets sales plan in March, MTN has raised about $950 million. The telco hopes to continue the process by selling some of its stakes in Nigerian businesses, according to Bloomberg.
With the asset sales, MTN is looking to raise money to pay down debt and simplify its portfolio of businesses that spreads across Africa and the Middle East.
Recently, MTN sold minority stakes in its tower joint ventures in Ghana and Uganda, raising about $523 million. It also redeemed preference shares in Nigeria.
Now, MTN is looking to reduce majority ownership of its business in Nigeria by selling about 14% of its Lagos-listed operation. IHS Holdings Ltd., the continent’s largest operator of wireless towers, is on that list.
According to MTN spokeswoman, the value of MTN’s stake in IHS Towers was about $1.5 billion in June. The sale of MTN’s share is expected to reduce its stake in Nigerian business to about 65%.
This development comes after Nigeria’s attorney general dropped a claim of $2 billion backlog of taxes against the company.
The company has also began plans of focusing investment on its main markets as MTN Group chairman, Mcebisi Jonas promised to invest $1.6 billion into strengthening networks and telecoms systems across the country.
Following reports of the proposed assets sale, MTN shares gained as much as 2% but eventually traded 0.8% lower as of 10:09 a.m. in Johannesburg.
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