International Finance

MTN’s Nigeria stake sale is slowed by coronavirus

MTN stake sale
MTN Group currently holds a 79% stake in its Nigerian unit

MTN Group is going ahead with its decision to sell a part of its stake in its business in Nigeria; however, the sale will have to be carried out in parts due to the global slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reportedly, MTN is looking to offload around 15 percent the 79 percent majority stake it holds in MTN Nigeria.

Chief Financial Officer at MTN Ralph Mupita revealed that the impact of the pandemic on international financial markets doesn’t change the importance of selling part of the 79 percent shareholding to local investors.

With regard to the stake sale, he told the media, “In Nigeria we still want to do part of our retail offer, even if it’s a smaller part of the total planned sale. We are applying our minds to doing this at the moment.”

MTN was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last year, and is the country’s second-biggest publicly-traded company.

Nigeria is also MTN’s biggest market, accounting for a third of overall 2019 revenue and almost 40 percent of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, MTN has around 69 million customers, making it the biggest telecom company in the country.

While MTN is going ahead with the stake sale in MTN Nigeria, Ralph Mupita revealed that the rest of a three-to-five year plan to dispose of $1.4 billion of assets will probably take a back seat.

The asset sales include an 18.9 percent stake in African online retailer Jumia, a R27 billion worth stake in Mauritius-headquartered IHS Towers, MTN Nigeria’s public offering and share sales to local investors in its Ugandan and Zambian units.

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