MTN raises $972m from assets sale

Thursday January 9 2020

 

By CHRISTINE KASEMIIRE

MTN Group has said it realised $972m in 2019 from disposal of some of its properties under its Asset Realisation Programme.
The telecom, which has been mobilising resources from selling some of its assets to pay debt, said late last week that it had registered success and hopes to continue with the same disposal process this year.
Currently, MTN has concluded an agreement to dispose of its equity holdings in the Uganda and Ghana Tower Company investments to a subsidiary of American Tower Company for $523m (Shs1.9 trillion).
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.
“Following the completion of these transactions, MTN will have realised proceeds of approximately $972m within the first 12 months of this programme. Realising proceeds from simplifying the group remains a major strategic objective and we expect further progress in this programme in 2020,” Mr Rob Shuter, MTN Group chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The telecom in March last year announced its Asset Realisation Programme, which seeks to simplify its portfolio, reduce debt and risk, improve returns and realise proceeds of at least $1b over three years.
Through the programme, MTN in November announced its intentions to sell its stake in American Tower Corporation (ATC) Uganda to ATC in which the telecom owns a 49 per cent shareholding.
“We continue to make steady progress in this regard and, following American Towers Corporation’s announcement of its acquisition of Eaton Towers, we are in advanced discussions to dispose of our 49 per cent holdings in ATC Ghana and ATC Uganda which we value at between $471m and $539m respectively,” Mr Ralph Mupita, the MTN Group chief financial officer, said in a statement last year.
In addition to MTN’s stake, ATC is also in the process of acquiring Eaton Towers, a private tower company that is operating in numerous countries including Uganda.
A statement by ATC last year, highlighting the definitive agreement to acquire Eaton Towers including the assumption of existing debt, of approximately $1.85b, said the transaction was subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

More money raised

MTN also said that its Nigeria subsidiary has completed the redemption of its preference shares with MTN Group receiving, in December 2019, an amount of $315m (Shs1.1 trillion).
In addition, following proceeds raised from the disposals of its stakes in Amadeus, Travelstart and the ATC loan of $132.7m, MTN concluded two further transactions bringing the total proceeds from its ARP to $972m.

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