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MTN Announces Plan To Exit Middle East Amid Allegations Of It Aiding Afghan Militant Groups

South African National Broadband Network

MTN, Africa’s telecommunications giant has announced plans to exit the Middle East market after several headwinds including new allegations of aiding militant groups in Afghanistan.

MTN made the announcement today as it delivered strong financial results for the six months to June.

Groups chief executive Rob Shuter said that as part of the review of the portfolio, the group believed it was best served to focus on its pan-African strategy and to simplify its portfolio by exiting the Middle East region in an orderly manner over the medium-term.

“The Middle East assets contributed less than 4 percent to group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (Ebitda) in the first half,” said Shuter.

Shuter said as part of this process MTN was in advanced discussions to sell its 75 percent stake in MTN Syria to TeleInvest. MTN’s Middle East portfolio includes Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

MTN also announced solid financial results for the six months ended June including revenue growth of 9.4 percent and Ebitda growth of 10.9 percent.

“MTN delivered strong results for the period against the backdrop of difficult trading conditions, exacerbated by the unprecedented socio and macroeconomic challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Shuter said.

Subscribers increased by 10.6 million to 261.5 million during the period under review and group reached a significant milestone in surpassing the 100 million mark of active data users.

MTN recorded 38.3 million Mobile Money (MoMo) users and in Nigeria added 114 000 agents to reach 222 000 registered agents.

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