MTN rumoured to be considering exit from smaller West African operations

MTN rumoured to be considering exit from smaller West African operations

A so far unconfirmed report from Bloomberg suggests that MTN Group may be looking at divesting some of its smaller operations in West Africa.

The pan-African operator – the biggest in the African continent – is apparently reviewing its portfolio in the region. The aim would be to identify potential disposal candidates and then to focus on core markets, according to unnamed sources close to the company.

Core markets in this case would almost certainly include assets in Nigeria and Ghana, both very big markets in their own right. In fact Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market by subscriber numbers. These large West African markets do not form part of the review, according to Bloomberg’s sources.

However, MTN does have a presence in much smaller markets in the region, including Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Guinea, where, as we reported earlier this week, MTN Guinea has launched the pilot phase of its 4G mobile network.

Still, as the Bloomberg report points out, this process is in its early stages; there’s no certainty they’ll result in divestments. MTN is not being drawn, stating that the company would communicate any firm intentions to dispose of assets publicly to its stakeholders.

If it took place this wouldn’t be the first strategic divestment by MTN. We reported MTN plans to exit the Middle East when they were first announced, since then MTN has divested its Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen units to focus on its African markets.