MTN Edges Closer to Disposing Afghan business for$35M

MTN Edges Closer to Disposing Afghan business for$35M

Africa’s largest mobile operator, MTN, is selling its Afghanistan operations to M1 New Ventures of Lebanon for $35 million (R637 million). The telco revealed this today when it released its financial results for the third quarter that ended on September 30, which finished the quarter.

“As part of an orderly exit of the Middle East, in August 2022 we announced that we had received a binding offer for our shares in MTN Afghanistan. In this regard, MTN Dubai and M1 New Ventures entered into agreements in which M1 will acquire all the issued shares in MTN Afghanistan for a gross consideration of $35 million,” the teleco stated.

The teleco notes that the transaction is subject to various conditions precedent, including the conclusion of a transition agreement and regulatory approvals.

“The completion of the deal would conclude MTN’s exit from Middle Eastern markets, after selling MTN Yemen and abandoning MTN Syria last year. Its 49% financial investment in Irancell will continue to be managed within the the telecom’s portfolio,” said Mupita.

The move to dispose of the Afghan unit comes as the group has been pulling out of the Middle East region over the past years. This, after the company faced several challenges with its operations in the volatile region. Recall that the Group Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita had stated that a gross amount of $35 million would be paid over time, with proceeds totaling $31 million. He did not reveal the buyer.

The deal’s completion would signify the telecom’s exit from the Middle Eastern markets after it sold MTN Yemen and gave up on MTN Syria last year.

The group has already faced criticism in Afghanistan for its reported interactions with Taliban militants. MTN ceased operations in Syria in August of last year, citing “intolerable” conditions there. A noteworthy indication of MTN’s increased interest in streamlining its services is the sale of non-core assets, like as its tower business, to raise money for network capacity and service expansions.