South Africa’s MTN Group, the largest telecom in Africa in terms of revenue and subscriber base, has finally received a binding offer to sell off its Afghanistan business for $35-million. The Group will end its Middle East operations after the sale.
In 2021, reports began to indicate that MTN was in talks with potential international buyers to sell its wireless business in Afghanistan in part of the company’s larger plans to completely exit the Middle East. At that point, MTN was the market leader in Afghanistan with a 40% share.
According to Reuters, MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita told journalists that the Group received the offer from an undisclosed buyer for the gross sum of $35-million. The amount will be paid over a period of time, and the proceeds would be $31-million.
Mupita confirmed that the completion of the Afghanistan deal would conclude MTN’s exit from the region and that MTN’s 49% financial investment in local operator Irancell would continue to be managed within the MTN portfolio.
MTN’s plans to leave the Middle East are fueled by the company’s wishes to focus on its presence in Africa, and its concerns over instability in the region. Afghanistan’s government came under complete control of the Taliban Islamic extremist group last year in August.
MTN has already sold its business in Yemen and had completely dropped its MTN Syria operations last year as well, leaving Afghanistan as its final Middle Eastern presence.
MTN Group Reports Increased Revenues in Latest Quarter
MTN Group also released its earnings report for the latest quarter, announcing that it saw its revenues increase 14.8% to $5.71-billion.
These boosted earnings were supported by the continued growth of MTN South Africa (4.1%), MTN Nigeria (19.9%) and MTN Ghana (29.3%), amid higher overall demand for data services in 19 African markets.