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MTN raises R2.1bn in divestment plan

MTN is in the middle of reviewing its presence in some markets alongside investments in e-commerce platforms as part of a plan to streamline the company into a focused operator in high-growth markets in the Middle East and Africa.

MTN Africa. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - MTN Group Ltd raised R2.1 billion ($140.24 million) from asset sales in the first half of this year as part of a divestment plan to simplify its portfolio, Africa’s largest mobile network by subscribers said on Thursday after reporting a 9.3% fall in earnings.

MTN is in the middle of reviewing its presence in some markets alongside investments in e-commerce platforms as part of a plan to streamline the company into a focused operator in high-growth markets in the Middle East and Africa.

In March, it announced a R15 billion divestment programme over the next three years that will also reduce risk and improve returns.

In the first half to June it sold its shareholder loan in ATC Ghana to American Tower Corporation for R900 million and also sold its interests in investment fund Amadeus and its associated holding in Travelstart for R1.2 billion, the firm said in a statement.

“So we’re well on track for our R15 billion (target) over three years,” group chief executive Rob Shuter told reporters in a post-earnings conference call.

Headline earnings per share (HEPS), the main profit measure in South Africa, stood at 195 cents in the six-months through June, compared to 215 cents in June 2018.

HEPS were impacted by the new IFRS 16 accounting standard, Nigeria fine interest, foreign exchange gains and losses, hyperinflation and the depreciation of the Iranian real, which resulted in lower earnings from MTN Irancell, MTN said.

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