MTN plans for Botswana sale are shelved

MTN plans for Botswana sale are shelved

South Africa’s MTN has announced that it is not going through with a proposed sale of a 53 per cent stake in Mascom Wireless Botswana. The deal was reported as being worth $300 million to MTN.

While it did not go into specifics, MTN stated that the deal – alongside joint venture partner Econet Wireless – to sell the MTN stake in the Botswana unit was being abandoned “as certain conditions to the transaction were not met”.

In fact, it seems that the stake is no longer being put up for sale. News reports have, however, quoted MTN as saying it could be tempted by a deal in the longer term if it received an attractive offer.

This, however, isn’t the end of the proposed three-year divestment plan, announced earlier this year by MTN. The company has stated that it is in advanced talks to sell tower assets in both Ghana and Uganda, which could generate as much $530 million, about half the overall amount it hopes to raise by selling loss-making e-commerce assets and moving out of countries where the company does not feel a first or second position is possible.

The company’s revenue figures (which, for the nine-months to the end of September rose by 9.6 percent year-on-year), indicate a strong showing, notably in Nigeria and Ghana. However, there has been slower growth in South Africa, where the country’s indifferent economic performance, not to mention unemployment rates close to 30 percent and rising living costs, have hit consumer finances.

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